Citing sources close to the player, FutbolMLS.com - the MLS-focused arm of Univision Deportes - reports the New York Red Bulls have inquired about Giuseppe Rossi's willingness to move back to America.
It has long been reported that La Viola is seeking to offload Rossi. The American-born Italian international's time in Florence was disrupted by injury, and he took a loan to La Liga's Levante in January 2016 in the search for playing time. Pretty much since he returned from that loan, the rumor mill has been anxious to predict his next move.
As recently as July 20, it was suggested Fiorentina would let Rossi leave the club for around $5.5 million. Not a bad price for a 29-year-old who has been a reliable double-digit goal scorer (when fit) in Europe's top leagues for most of the past decade.
Rossi himself appears minded to stay in Europe. Though born and raised in New Jersey, he joined Parma's youth system at age 12, and has played in Europe ever since.
Back in May, pondering an uncertain future for his client, Rossi's agent, Andrea Pastorello, said the player regretted his decision to choose Italy over the USA as his national team. Such comments seemed like an effort to put Rossi in the frame for a move to MLS.
But Rossi denied any such second-guessing over his national team commitment in an interview with Empire of Soccer in late June. And though he did not close the door on coming home, he did state very clearly that he was still focused on playing his soccer in Europe for now:
That’s something in the future for sure that I would love to do. Now I am focused on my career in Europe.
It was a position he reiterated when invited to join RBNY by a fan on Twitter:
Not yet man but one day hopefully https://t.co/oY02WXRI5q— GIUSEPPE ROSSI (@GiuseppeRossi22) June 30, 2016
He is, of course, allowed to change his mind. And Univision's story is that RBNY contacted Rossi, not the other way around.
Nonetheless, RBNY just signed a couple of attacking players. And the MLS transfer window is now closed. So this rumor feels like it's a little late on the scene.
But there is a roster to fill for next season, and Jesse Marsch did recently tell Big Apple Soccer that RBNY sporting director Al Curtis is "always kind of poking around to see what is out there."
It's hard to believe in Rossi coming to RBNY in 2016. He's said he want to stay in Europe, he still seems to have a shot at playing this season with his current club, the Red Bulls have just stocked up on attacking players, and the 29-year-old isn't an obvious fit with the RalfBall transfer policy RBNY favors.
But it's not hard to believe that Ali Curtis might be exploring his options for 2017. Maybe that's what is behind this otherwise-hard-to-credit rumor.
One thing we should be able to count on: more on this story. The Italian press loves a good MLS rumor. We shouldn't have to wait too long for further news about RBNY's alleged interest in Giuseppe Rossi.