Tim Cahill's future is safe and secure in the nick of time: we have a new transfer rumor to bat around. Several reports out of Italy are agreed: Antonio Di Natale has been offered 8 million euros ($9 million and not insubstantial change) over two seasons to join MLS.
Most reports attribute the information to Sky Sports. If you can find the specific reference - please bring it forward. All I am coming up with is discussion of Andrea D'Amico - Sebastian Giovinco's agent - suggesting his client (Di Natale) would be "perfectly suited" to MLS.
The official MLS website, always game for a big-name transfer rumor, says the club extending this offer has not been named, citing a report from GianlucaDiMarzio.com.
But other outlets disagree. Goal.com says the offer came from one of the clubs in New York. CalcioNews24.com offers the same opinion.
One of the MLS clubs in New York...huh. Well that's us or them, isn't it?
Last time this rumor popped up,
we I concluded New York Cosmos might be the most likely candidate. The green team has the money, the proven taste for players in Di Natale's age range (he's 37), and arguably could use the marketing bump a little more than either NYC FC or the New York Red Bulls (hush now: lying to misleading fans and ditching club legends is a perfectly reasonable way to drum support for a team).
Well, these reports all say MLS. And the Cosmos are not in MLS. In itself, that isn't necessarily a disqualifying detail. Plenty of foreign news outlets don't get the distinction between MLS and NASL: one big-spending American club is much like another from across the pond. Marco Senna's departure for the Cosmos was described in some quarters as a move to MLS.
Personally, whatever truth there may be to this rumor still smells a lot like Cosmos to me. NYC FC has been busy accumulating ALL the forwards - Adam Nemec is merely the latest to join a striker-heavy roster. And the blue team is already committed to bringing Frank Lampard aboard in the summer. There must surely be a limit to the number of 37-year-old stars a team can accommodate.
As for RBNY, well it just lost Thierry Henry, who was occupying the spot marked "37-year-old superstar" on the team, so there is a vacancy.
But it also just jettisoned Tim Cahill, allegedly because it wasn't up for the risk of extending his contract beyond his 36th birthday. And it reportedly didn't have the stomach for the financial fight required to snag Jozy Altidore. It still isn't clear why the team would be desperate to pay Titi-level money for a guy who is older than Cahill, when it could have thrown its cash at a younger, equally marketable striker last month.
Nor is it clear from the reports whether the latest rumor was an attempt to lure Di Natale to MLS right now. He seems a much more likely candidate for a summer move, insofar as he is a regular starter and scorer for Udinese in Serie A this season (19 league appearances and nine goals to date).
All of which is to say, like the last time we heard this rumor, it still seems like a long shot, still seems like a summer transfer at best, and still seems like a Cosmos kind of deal.
We will, of course, keep you updated on any further progress of this story.