Orlando City has been linked to São Paulo midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso, according to multiple reports.
The Lions have reportedly made an offer to São Paulo for the services of the 25-year-old attacking midfielder, who has been with the Brazilian giants since 2012. Rumors of a possible transfer first appeared earlier today on Twitter, with both Globo Esporte and the Orlando Sentinel confirming the news.
Late this afternoon, São Paulo Vice President Ataíde Gil Guerreiro denied the news in a tweet.
Ganso won't join Orlando City, according to São Paulo's VP Ataíde Gil Guerreiro, he did confirm Orlando City wanted to sign him though.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) July 16, 2015
The transfer may be linked to financial problems at São Paulo, with Globo Esporte reporting that the club is looking to part with Ganso before the end of the summer transfer window after an attempt to move Rodrigo Caio fell through. São Paulo is reportedly seeking $4.8 million for the player, a figure that is well within Orlando's price range.
Ganso, affectionately known as "Goose" due to his long neck, was previously sold to São Paulo from Santos for a little over $7.5 million in 2012. He started brightly with his new club and even donned the fabled number 10 shirt before a string of bad performances appear to have made him expandable under new manager (and former New York Red Bulls head coach) Juan Carlos Osorio.
Globo Esporte even reported that in a recent match, Ganso was subbed off to a cascade of boos from over 60,000 fans in attendance and ignored his coach on the sideline, though the issue between the two was later resolved.
There are a couple things about this rumor that hint to some fire behind all the smoke.
For one, Orlando City's connection to both Brazil and São Paulo FC have been well documented. Majority owner Flávio Augusto da Silva is a native of the country and was instrumental in bringing Kaká to the club last year. He provides a degree of legitimacy to any transfer rumors regarding Brazilian players, and Orlando nearly landed another São Paulo transfer in striker Luís Fabiano earlier this year.
The other obvious connection is Kaká's relationship with his boyhood club, which was strengthened by a loan spell to São Paulo before Orlando City began their inaugural season in MLS. Kaká played with Ganso during his return to Brazil and would surely be involved in any recruitment of the player regarding a move to Orlando.
Ganso has been a fixture in the São Paulo midfield throughout his career, making 34 appearances and scoring five goals in 2014. He's played well enough for his club to earn a handful of caps with the Brazilian national team and his work rate has continued into this year, as "Goose" has already logged over 1,500 minutes across Série A and Campeonato Paulista.
São Paulo is reportedly looking to move their star midfielder out of the country, as they backed out of a loan deal earlier in the year that would have sent him to rivals Flamengo.
At Orlando City, Ganso would fill a huge need for the Lions in their depleted midfield. With the news today that Brek Shea will reportedly miss up to the six weeks, the Lions desperately need an offensive threat on the right side to complement Kaká the way Kevin Molino did prior to his season-ending ACL injury in May.