An official announcement is expected later in the week, but Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has already confirmed what most have expected for a few days now: Steven Gerrard will become a Galaxy player in July when his Liverpool contract ends. Speaking to the LA Times, Arenas talked about the MLS club’s plans for their soon to be official signing.
"Steven Gerrard arrives in July and by then we will certainly have a plan available," said Arena, who has managed the Galaxy since 2008, winning three titles along the way. "He's a player of quality. I'm not concerned about how he's going to fit in with our team. We have a club now with a proven history of success. All those things go hand in hand in making the LA Galaxy a very attractive team for players such as Steven Gerrard."
By MLS standards they certainly are a successful side, though getting to the point where they can win three of the past four titles has come with a helping hand from the league front office. The MLS have over the years made a habit of steering the most marketable foreign imports towards clubs in the largest media centres. It’s an obvious case of meddling in the game for the sake of growing the brand domestically.
It doesn’t help the image of the league for those watching from further away, though, and few English football fans will be inclined to believe that the draw of winning titles in LA will really have been what convinced Gerrard to make the switch. The chance for an ageing superstar to play a lot of football as a key player in a warm climate without the crushing pressure that comes from playing in England seems a more realistic rationale.
Whatever the reasons, though, if there was any doubt before, that doubt is gone today. The official announcement may still be a few days away, but Steven Gerrard will be ending his Liverpool career in a few short months to head to California and guaranteed minutes in the twilight of his career. It’s not the ending most Liverpool fans would have hoped for, but hopefully it will be an ending Gerrard can be happy with once his career does end.
"I think it's a match made in heaven really," Gerrard told the Times. "One of the reasons I chose LA Galaxy was because of the success they've had recently. I want to finish my career very strong. I want to add some medals and trophies to my collection."
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