Aquilani is said to be far from pleased with a contract offer which contains a wage reduction from his current club, Fiorentina, and, with his deal set to expire in the summer, the stateside outfit are preparing to launch a bid to secure his services for their inaugural campaign.
Having been officially announced as the league’s 20th franchise in May last year, NYCFC are set for their first MLS season in 2015 and are in the midst of building their roster for their top-flight debut.
A joint venture between Manchester City and MLB’s New York Yankees, who together paid a reported $100 million for the team’s expansion rights, club officials had been hoping to seal a deal for Barcelona legend Xavi last week to add to the big-name signings of Villa and Lampard.
However, with the Spain international deciding to remain with the Catalan giants until at least the start of 2015, it remains to be seen whether interest will be kept up, leaving a final DP spot open for the potential acquisition of Aquilani to fill.
Originally joining Liverpool in 2009 from boyhood club Roma, the £17 million playmaker endured a frustrating time on the books of the Premier League club, making just 26 appearances during his first campaign in England, before being sent out on successive season-long loans to Juventus and AC Milan.
Troubled by injuries throughout his career, Acquilani eventually settled on a permanent move back to Serie A with Fiorentina in August 2012, where he has had one of the most productive spells of his career, scoring 13 goals in 56 league games to help the club to consecutive fourth-place finishes.
Boasting 35 caps for Italy since his 2006 debut, the 30-year-old was named in Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup squad this summer but failed to see the pitch in the Brazil, as the Azzurri were dumped out in the group stages.
Nevertheless, his potential addition would prove another significant coup for NYCFC, giving the club a formidable core to begin life in MLS with, while also helping to further boost the league’s footprint at a time when the game’s profile in the States is at an all-time high.