Atletico Mineiro have announced they’ve parted company with Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, sparking rumours that the World Cup-winning conjurer is on his way to the Premier League.
Those who believe the buck-toothed Balon D’Or winner is en route to England can get paid out at 5/1 if he features in a top-tier match this season.
The heady days of illuminating arenas such as the Nou Camp and San Siro with his sorcery in possession are a thing of the past for the 34-year-old, but if you believe everything the gossip peddlers want you to, he could be captivating the entertainment-starved audiences at Stoke, West Ham and QPR next season.
According to Ronaldinho’s brother Roberto de Assis, who handily doubles up as a football agent, his next wage-payer will be revealed on Wednesday.
Should the daunting project of glamorising one of this hugely unglamorous trio appeal to his ego, here’s what he could bring to the clubs in question:
Mark Hughes is doing his level best to paper over the pragmatic ethos instilled in the Potters from the previous regime with as much pizzazz as possible.
Having already recruited former Spanish wonder boy Bojan, a shirt-selling signing such as Ronaldinho would undoubtedly appeal.
Both are familiar with the Barcelona way of playing and their dribbling prowess combined with incisive passing acumen is a recipe for the creation of ample chances that haven’t come from crosses…if they can only get Peter Crouch on the same wavelength.
Who better embodies the ‘West Ham way’ (a mythological style of football that no one is certain exists other than Irons’ fans, who are adamant that it does and is beautiful) than arguably the finest player of his generation?
With co-owners David Gold and Sullivan apparently taking recruitment matters into their own hands in order to rediscover this long-lost, but not forgotten approach, it won’t matter if he fits in or not, they’ll still pay his wages.
Harry Redknapp has a penchant for the luxury player with Luka Modric, Joe Cole and Niko Kranjcar among those to take prominent places in his teams of the past.
He’s thought to be plotting a way to squeeze Adel Taarabt into his side for next season (most likely from one of the flanks) but Little Ronald is a far superior alternative.