With Kobe Bryant's career slowly but surely winding down, the old dog might need some new toys to play with. Now, what's the No. 1 purchase item for any highly-competitive ego-driven rich guy? A professional sports team to live vicariously through, of course. According to La Gazetta and the Los Angeles Times, Kobe is pursuing that option. 

As part of a consortium led by noted defense attorney Joe Tacopina and Joey Saputo, owner of the MLS' Montreal Impact, Kobe and Co. are looking to buy Italian Serie B club Bologna FC 1909

Kobe has a well-known affinity for soccer. Growing up in Rieti, Italy (about four hours away from Bologna), Kobe played soccer avidly, and has admitted that the beautiful game was his first love. Last week, he took a trip to Germany to hang out with Bayern Munich just because. It's not unthinkable to see Kobe pursuing a life-long passion that he's never been able to athletically act upon, but now has the resources to do so on a business level.

Should a deal happen (Tacopina is said to hold talks with owner Albano Guaraldi next week), Bryant might want to head over there and show the team how it's done. Bologna, a founding Serie A member and seven-time league champion, have fallen on hard times over the last decade.

Consistent power struggles over ownership shares and funding (a previous owner failed to pay players in 2010) have seen the club tossed back to Serie B. A player price tracking database has the entire team valued at around $25 million, which should provide a cursory yardstick measurement for the actual price of the club. Tacopina has reportedly asked Kobe for a $452,000 investment, which is 2 percent of his 2014-2015 salary of $23,500,00. 

Let's see if Kobe's team will get a deal done. ESPN FC refuted this same report two days ago, but with additional coverage from The Times today, it's certainly a situation to monitor. 

[via L.A. Times]