Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena says the deal to land Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard at the Major League Soccer(MLS) club is done and dusted.
Gerrard announced his decision to end a 17-year relationship with the ‘Reds’ first-team last week, stressing he would not feature for a rival European club if there was a chance they could face his boyhood team. That reason has been widely attributed to his decision to move to the USA, with LA Galaxy his preferred choice.
“Steven Gerrard arrives in July and by then we will certainly have a plan available,” Arena, who has led the club to three Major League Soccer titles in four years, said in an interview with the LA Times.
“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 LA Galaxy a very attractive team for players such as Steven Gerrard.”
Gerrard admits Liverpool contract came late enough to stall his move to LA Galaxy, a club he believes is his ideal destination and “a match made in heaven.”
He told the LA 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.”
The Merseyside club waited until November before offering the veteran a new contract, a decision the ex-England captain wouldn’t blame anyone for triggering his departure.
Gerrard turns 35 in May and Brendan Rodgers has disclosed the midfielder’s playing time would be managed, resulting to his substitute role in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Stoke City on November 29- his 16th anniversary of debuting against Blackburn in 1998. He was also left on the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League match against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu.
“If a contract had been put in front of me in pre-season I would have signed it,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “I’d just retired from England to concentrate all my efforts on Liverpool. I didn’t want my club games to be tailored.
“My injury record had been fantastic for the past two and a half years and I had a great season from a personal point of view last season. It’s all ifs, buts and hindsight now. That period between the summer and the end of November gave me thinking time.
“There’s no blame and I’m not angry about it. There are other people in the squad and the club had other things to worry about. There is no finger pointing from me towards the manager or anyone else at the club.”
Galaxy president Chris Klein said: “We just started thinking in the universe of players that are out there, we want to make a decision on what signifies a Galaxy-designated player. When we look at that, Steven Gerrard is the perfect fit with what he brings to us on the field and the character that he has off it.”