Over the past week the name most heard by Orlando City fans as a potential target has been Paulo Henrique Ganso. The Lions have been openly chasing the Sao Paulo midfielder with no success as of yet. But rather than asking why the Brazilian club refuses to allow City to purchase the player, the question should be why did the first-year MLS club insist on chasing him?
Five years ago, Ganso was one of the most coveted players in Brazil. At just 20 years of age, he teamed with fellow Santos star Neymar as one of the most dynamic duos in the Americas. But while Neymar has gone on to star for FC Barcelona and Brazil, Ganso's star has faded.
Back then, it looked as though Ganso would be given Brazil's famous number 10 shirt, one of the most prestigious honors in the game. However, slowly Ganso began to look less and less like the future star of Brazil. During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Ganso was replaced by Oscar, two years his junior, who would go on to star for Chelsea and Brazil. The move signaled that the potential for him to take the mantle from Kaká had disappeared.
After an acrimonious split with Santos in 2012, Ganso looked to be on his way up after joining Sao Paulo. He had been reunited with his former coach Muricy Ramalho and was considered an important cog in the Sao Paulo starting lineup. However, Ganso disappointed once again leaving many to question if they would ever see the full potential of the former starlet.
Recently Orlando City operator and fellow Brazilian Flavio Augusto da Silva has been chasing the 25-year-old to join the Lions. Reports from Brazilian soccer journalist Paulo Freitas even have the Lions suing the Sao Paulo club over money owed from Kaká's loan last summer but that the debt will be forgiven if Ganso is sold to the team.
There's no question of Ganso's potential. The midfielder has shown flashes of brilliance. His passing and vision are impeccable and would fit in perfectly in Adrian Heath's system of moving the ball on the ground through the midfield. The question is would you have seen that brilliance in Orlando?
Ganso has become known for his injuries and inconsistent play just as much as his former prowess. Today in Brazil, he's seen as a cautionary tale of hyping a young player.
Now perhaps a move to Orlando is just what the Brazilian would have needed. He would have played in a lesser league in MLS and beside a Brazilian icon in Kaká. Maybe a change of scenery would bring out the best in the 25-year-old midfielder.
But Ganso would require a hefty sum of money. And while potential for greatness is there, so is the possibility that he ends up disappointing in which case Orlando City has invested greatly in a mistake. While that may be acceptable in other leagues, MLS's low salary cap could make that mistake extremely detrimental.
Over the past week there has been a great deal of hype over the possible acquisition of Ganso. But while he was once one of the coveted prospects in the world, today he's seen as a player who never was able to live up to his potential. Which leaves the question, would Paulo Henrique Ganso really have been the right move for Orlando City?