The Brazilian press has seized on a report in the Orlando Sentinel suggesting Andrea Pirlo is being sized up by Sao Paulo's Palmeiras FC. The gist of it is the Brazilian club is keen to demonstrate its ambition for next season, and tool up its squad for a Copa Libertadores campaign.
The Sentinel's report, which does not appear to have made the paper's online edition, cites an unidentified "Italian report" suggesting Pirlo is being pursued not merely by Palmeiras but also clubs all over Europe, including Ligue 1's Olympique Lyonnais.
Segundo essa reportagem, Alexandre Mattos sondou Pirlo para o Palmeiras pic.twitter.com/5M49KVrDv7
— Pitacos do Palestra (@pitacosep) October 3, 2015
In return, Italian outlet FantaGazzetta attributes the rumor to the Sentinel - such are the ways of the rumor mill.
Is Pirlo seriously likely to quit NYCFC after only half a season in MLS? It would mean walking away from a contract reported to have two years remaining and thought to be worth as much as $8 million per season.
Also, the Palmeiras interest is allegedly tied to the player's desire to play in Copa Libertadores - and the Sao Paulo team is not assured of qualification for the 2016 edition of the CONMEBOL club championship. Currently, Palmeiras is currently sixth in Brazil's top flight: just a point outside the top four (which brings Copa Libertadores qualification), but having lost its most recent match 5-1, to 14th-placed Chapecoense. The club is also in the semifinals of the Copa do Brasil, a tournament which offers a Libertadores berth to the winner.
It should also be noted that Palmeiras was linked with Pirlo in 2014 - so this is familiar ground for the rumor mill. It seemed unlikely then and only more so now. But reports of Pirlo moving to NYCFC also seemed improbable when they first emerged.