By DAN KARELL
Orlando City Soccer Club’s long courtship of Brazilian midfielder Kaka looks to have finally succeeded.
(UPDATE: Orlando City released a statement on Friday morning, saying, “Orlando City Soccer Club is in advanced discussions with Kaka. Pending completion of the potential player agreement, Kaka would join Orlando City SC in January 2015 prior to the Club’s first season in Major League Soccer.”)
News of the Kaka move was first revealed by a tweet from ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, which claimed Orlando City and Major League Soccer have signed Kaka to a Designated Player contract, where he’ll begin playing in the 2015 MLS season. However, with Orlando City still more than seven months away from opening their first MLS training camp, the club will loan Kaka to his former club Sao Paulo FC until 2015.
The Orlando Sentinel confirmed the initial report on Thursday evening, claiming knowledge from an MLS source with direct knowledge of the agreement.
As soon as the Serie A season ended, transfer speculation intensified that Kaka would go to either Orlando City or back home in Brazil.
If the report is true, it would be another big step for MLS in attracting talented attacking players to come to the league, and it would allow Kaka to play both in Brazil for a short while and keep his fitness up before beginning his MLS tenure.
The Orlando Sentinel report also says that Kaka triggered an opt-out clause after Milan failed to qualify for a place in European competitions.
Though there’s no indication that a formal announcement is forthcoming, it could come as early as Friday. Sao Paulo are currently in Orlando during the Brazilian league’s World Cup break and are set to face OCSC in a friendly match.
The man likely credited for making this possible is Orlando City majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva. Da Silva is a close friend of Kaka’s and has had the former Brazilian National Team star over to Orlando to train during the offseason on multiple occasions.
What do you think of this report? Excited to see Kaka possibly come to MLS? Do you believe he’ll be able to fit into the league’s physical style? Do you expect big things from Kaka?
Share your thoughts below.