Saturday 16 December 2017

Steven Gerrard unlikely to return to Liverpool on loan from LA Galaxy during MLS off-season

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

Jason Burt

Steven Gerrard is not expected to return to Liverpool on loan in January, the MLS Commissioner Don Garber has stated.

There were suggestions, from Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre, when the 35-year-old midfielder announced his move to Los Angeles Galaxy, that a loan was “conceivable” and had even been discussed.

However when asked about the possibility Garber was dismissive. “I don't think so. And I had not heard that was something that was being contemplated,” he said.

The most high-profile case of a player returning to Europe on loan was when David Beckham joined AC Milan from LA Galaxy in 2009 with Garber saying he had been “really upset” with the move because of the “big hoopla and the massive commitment we made (to Beckham)”.

“And people in our country said: ‘what? he plays for two teams? and you are trying to build a sport’,” Garber said. “It was a challenge getting people to understand that. You then realise if he is playing for the Galaxy and Milan what a great thing that says about your league.

“(But) I don't believe we are going to see many more off-season loans happening in our league particularly at what I would call the high-level designated players. It's been a couple of years (since it has happened). I don't remember the last one we have had - Robbie Keane with (Aston) Villa, (Thierry) Henry with Arsenal (both 2012).”

Interestingly Garber also revealed that the MLS has been “talking to the Premier League about doing some sort of official competition as opposed to just having clubs come over to the country on a random basis playing in a (pre-season) tournament that takes place every summer”.

He said one idea that he wanted to float was an annual competition in New York in which the Premier League winners and the FA Cup winners would take on their MLS equivalents in a mini-tournament.

“I would love to find a way that we could play our FA Cup champion and our league champion against an FA Cup and league champion tournament and play it in New York City every year,” Garber said. “I would love to do that. If not every year, then every four years because I know they have other places that they want to go to grow their brands.

“Overall there is no doubt that there are opportunities for the MLS and Premier League to work more closely together on either a tournament or some other type of activity, but that (an idea) is about as far as it has gone.”

Garber said that the MLS, which is now starting to attract players in the peak of their careers, will continue to expand with Beckham’s Miami franchise expected to be one of three new teams formed in the next few years, possibly by 2018, especially now the former England captain has found a site to build a new stadium.

“Here you have a world-renowned athlete and arguably a world-renowned businessman whose offer to privately finance a stadium in a great city and bring MLS to the market. And we have been struggling to find the right site,” Garber said.

“Recently they have zeroed in on a site, the former site of the Orange Bowl adjacent to the Marlins (baseball) stadium…We believe and I feel very strongly, that Miami will be one of the next three teams that comes into the league.”

Garber said Beckham would be a welcome addition as an MLS franchise owner. “He has a big vision for his team, should he close it in Miami and you would imagine that when we have international owners that come into the league they have a global vision for their team,” Garber said.

“You could see that with Man City and NYCFC, Toronto and their team, and I certainly believe that is what David would do. That is what is motivating him to be part of the MLS ownership group. He says players are calling him all the time. Miami is an attractive place to live. There is a great cultural energy in that city that is unique in America. I am very convinced the team will be successful.”

Wayne Rooney has already suggested that he may be interested in a move to the United States towards the end of his career. “I was very pleased to hear that,” Garber said.


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