The buzz over Samuel Eto'o has just recently died down, but already the New York Cosmos are being linked to another legendary forward. This time, it's Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale, who confirmed that he'll be leaving Serie A when his contract expires this June:
"I will not renew my contract in June, I will leave Udinese."
Gazetta goes on to suggest that the Italian legend would love to play in New York, and that he's already got a two-year offer that would pay him between $8-9 million. The report mentions both the New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos as interested parties, and both make a bit of sense in that regard.
For the Cosmos, the appeal is obvious. Di Natale is a legend that anyone who has seriously followed the game will recognize immediately. Alongside Raul and Marcos Senna, the NASL club would have the same sort of name recognition which they've always been famous for. He'd also bring the same sort of experience and professionalism that the club is expecting from Raul, who is being asked to contribute heavily to the development of the academy as well.
For the Red Bulls, they've lost some star power with the departure of Thierry Henry, and the recent loss of Tim Cahill. They probably have a need for someone to partner Bradley Wright-Phillips in attack, and they have the DP slots available to add a player of Di Natale's stature should they so choose.
On the other side of the coin, however, the club recently avoided getting involved in the pursuit of Jozy Altidore, largely due to the wages involved. Di Natale is rumored to be a bit cheaper, and has certainly been more effective over the past 18 months, but one still wonders if the cost cutting going on in New Jersey should indicate that the Red Bulls didn't make that offer.
Whoever the interested party is, the 37-year old is now free to reach a pre-contract agreement with the New York club of his choosing, as he's within six months of the expiration of his current deal.