After weeks of intense negotiations, Orlando City’s persistent pursuit of AC Milan forward Robinho has reportedly ended, with the two sides unable to come to terms over a transfer fee or wage demands.
Having already pulled off a major coup by landing Selecao legend Kaka as the club’s first-ever Designated Player, Orlando had also been courting his former club and international teammate for several months, with Brazilian majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva looking to capitalise on the city’s sizeable expat population from his homeland.
While rumoured to be facing competition from a handful of other MLS clubs, as well as sides in Brazil and the Middle East, Milan CEO Adriano Galliani had confirmed a fortnight ago that discussions with the Florida-based outfit were on-going.
However, despite the Serie A side’s intentions to sell, with a contract running until 2016, and unable to opt out of his deal like Kaka, Robinho’s preferred choice of destination now looks to be out of the picture after this latest news.
Currently playing in the US third-tier, Orlando are gearing up for their inaugural MLS season in 2015, after being announced as the league’s 21st franchise last November, and are in the midst of building their roster for their top-flight debut.
After making their first major move with the signing of Kaka, the 32-year-old has been loaned out to former club Sao Paulo FC for the next six months, before returning to the US in January for pre-season training.
Rumours were also swirling in the wake of Ronaldinho’s release from Atletico Mineiro that the former Barcelona star could be an option for Orlando, though reports state that team officials don’t see him as a fit within the franchise.
Nevertheless, with fellow expansion rivals New York City FC making some significant moves of their own with the signings of David Villa and Frank Lampard, it seems likely that Orlando are far from finished scouring the wider market for big-name acquisitions ahead of 2015.