Andrea Pirlo set the rumor mill spinning a few weeks back when he didn't laugh out loud at the prospect of a move to MLS:
MLS could be an idea
He didn't say no. And that is reason enough to be excited, because Pirlo is very good player. And we have been patiently waiting for the rumor mill to send us even the slightest hint that the great man might be pondering a move to the New York Red Bulls - but there has been nothing.
No great surprise when one factors in the inconvenient truth that Pirlo is under contract with Juventus until 2016. He has a year left to run at a club that has made excellent use of his remarkable talent.
But he suggested he might quit Juve early if he could cap his time there with a Champions League title. And while that seemed like a jolly joke when Juventus was a mere semi-finalist, the team is now in the final. Not the favorite, sure, but in with a chance - especially with a man like Pirlo in the lineup.
So the rumor mill has been busy finding places he might go: non-MLS places, for the most part. He was linked with Chelsea and Liverpool, but those notions have recently been shot down. The Italian press was absolutely convinced Pirlo was on his way to Qatar: maybe Al Jaish or Al Sadd. The latter possibility raising the prospect of a Xavi-Pirlo dream midfield (if PSG does not snatch the Spanish legend away at the eleventh hour).
But that idea has also lost traction in recent days, because MLS has come roaring back to the forefront of Pirlo's post-Juve ambitions, according to reports from (among others) GianlucaDiMarzio.com. Sadly, this latest rumor brings the news that the Italian play-maker is specifically interested in one team: New York City FC.
We don't even get to debate whether RBNY is ready to accommodate an all-time great of the game. He has many options, of which NYC FC is merely the most recently suggested, and not one is the New York Red Bulls.
Win some, lose some. Is it likely Pirlo will cast aside one more year at Juve to parade his talent on NYC FC's folorn corner of Yankee Stadium? Enterprising Italian journalists have sidestepped traditional sources like agents and club management to find a truly impartial evaluation of the proliferating scenarios clogging the internet and sports pages: a bookmaker.
Which bookmaker isn't entirely clear, but a report carried by Agipronews.it and Corriere dello Sport states that at least one odds-maker sees a clear favorite among all Pirlo's alleged options: NYC FC. The MLS club is considered roughly three times more likely to be the midfielder's playing home next season, follow by current employer Juventus and England's Liverpool. PSG is also, somewhat surprisingly among the possibilities ranked more probable. Manchesters City and United, Chelsea, and Monaco occupy the less-likely spots on the list provided.
We will almost certainly have to wait until after the Champions League final to get any further sense of Pirlo's plans - he ought to be narrowly focused on his big game for the foreseeable future. But if you believe markets can be predictive: there is one suggesting he's on his way to New York next season. We'll find out his actual plans in due course.