New York City have been linked with a move for Italian World Cup winning striker Alberto Gilardino for several months now as they look to built a roster capable of challenging immediately upon their arrival in MLS next year.
However it appears they face strong competition for his signature from the Far East, with Gilardino's current club revealing Thursday that they had accept a bid for the 31-year-old.
Genoa president Enrico Preziosi explained the situation after in emerged that Chinese side Evergrande had had a bid accepted by the Seria A club:
"We don't know whether Gilardino will accept or not," he explained to Italian television.
"If he does, then we already have some alternatives and we will certainly give coach Gasperini a worthy replacement."
And New York City FC will have to act quick if they are serious in their pursuit of their man after Preziosi refused to rule out the possibility of Gilardino sticking around:
"If he doesn't (sign for Evergrande) then we will keep him."
Ervergrande are managed by Gilardino's former manager at international level, Marcello Lippi, which could make a move to the Chinese team an attractive proposition. Lippi was in charge when Gilardino and Italy achieved World Cup glory in 2006.
MLS still an option
That is not to say that a move to Major League Soccer is totally out of the question however.
Gilardino has been linked with a move to the US domestic league since the tail end of 2013 with Toronto FC almost securing his signature in December before talks broke down.
And as New York City FC have begun to put together a roster under the guidance of former Sunderland and Manchester City midfielder turned GM Claudio Reyna the Italian's name has never been too far away when player rumors have been circulating.
Although he missed out on selection for this summer's World Cup, Gilardino netted 12 goals in 26 games for Genoa last season and would make an intriguing addition alongside Spanish striker David Villa who signed for the new MLS franchise earlier this summer.
New York City recruiting
At present Villa only has one teammate in New York, that of defender Jeb Brovsky, but with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard widely expected to sign in the coming days the addition of Gilardino would surely wrap up the franchises' three designated player contracts well ahead of schedule.
For that to happen however NYCFC will have to decide whether the Italian is worth pursuing, and quick, if they do not wish to see him playing in the Chinese league next season it seems.
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