With their chances of signing Manchester United star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez looking slimmer each day, Orlando City has upped their chase for another young international star.
After reports surfaced last week stating Orlando City was interested in signing 25-year-old midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso from Sao Paulo -- a report, which was quickly shot down by Sao Paulo's VP -- the story continued to make the rounds on Tuesday with reports that Ganso has accepted an offer from Orlando City, with the next step being for the two clubs to work out an agreement.
According to reports, a Thursday deadline has been set to get a deal done that would have Ganso, who was once seen as a better Brazilian prospect than Neymar, in purple this summer.
São Paulo have until Thursday to accept Orlando City's proposal (SP give Ganso but get US$ 1.89m) reg. the US$ 4.3m São Paulo owe them.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) July 21, 2015
The center of the problem has been Sao Paulo's financial troubles, which has left them unable to pay their dues from Kaká's loan stint with the club last season. Orlando City has been looking for about $4.3 million in what Sao Paulo owes them, but is will to forget the payments in exchange for Ganso.
According to Globo.com, Orlando City's original loan agreement with Sao Paulo involved provisions such as the Lions getting a large chunk of all revenue from games that Kaká played in, paying $1.3 million in Kaká's wages, and even scheduling friendlies between the clubs -- one in Brazil, and the other in Orlando.
Orlando City is prepared to take the Brazilian club to court if this dispute is not resolved by Thursday's apparent deadline. The following quote, from ESPN Brazil, comes from Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva's lawyer (h/t to City Soccer Talk for the translation):
"The dispute was due to the absence of alternatives presented by São Paulo. The Orlando is only taking this point because he had no more ways to get the money. Since last week the São Paulo ceased to be receptive to the figures presented," Paul Luciano Andrade Minto said. "This is all business, and Flavio Augusto is powered by merely professional principles. I do not believe any animosity between the boards and the Orlando City still has an interest in carrying out of the games. Need to do with the São Paulo availability dates and if they still want to. If you do not want to, then it is possible that Orlando again seek their rights. "
Regardless of his recent club struggles, Ganso would be one of the biggest signings in MLS this season, and in recent history. His high salary would easily command a Designated Player contract, which means Orlando City would need to use its Targeted Allocation Money to pay down either Carlos Rivas or Bryan Rochez.
While playing with Kaká at Sao Paulo last season, Ganso played in the center of the midfield -- his natural position -- with Kaká on the right side. Adrian Heath could decide to line them up that way, given Kaká's likely willingness to move positions in the best interest of the team. However, it's also possible that Ganso could play on the right in place of the injured Kevin Molino, who Orlando City has desperately missed.
It's a signing that looked like a longshot at first, but it's starting to look more like reality if today's recent developments are to be believed.
The Mane Land will continue to update this story stream as further developments take place.