Grant Wahl has scored another exclusive interview with Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, and the ensuing Sports Illustrated reported lays out plenty of interesting points when it comes to the league’s two biggest recent stories.
Frank Lampard’s loan extension at Manchester City and Steven Gerrard’s expected move to the L.A. Galaxy both are focal points of the report. Garber said “Nothing is signed” with regards to the latter and, as expected, puts a solid spin on the Lampard news.
[ MLS: How will Gerrard fit in L.A.? ]
NYCFC and Manchester City, of course, are both owned by City Football Group, and the former’s fans are feeling a bit played by the loan extension. They bought season tickets under the impression that Lampard would be there on Opening Day, and now he’s gone until “July” (And some have taken Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s words to mean he may never arrive in MLS).
“I could understand why their fans are unhappy, and I do believe [NYCFC] will work hard to build back that trust,” Garber told SI.com from Florida on Saturday night. “They’ve started that process already. I sensed this was coming, and it didn’t surprise me when they ultimately made their decision. You’re dealing with a very unusual set of circumstances. Frank has become one of the most important players in Man City’s season, and he’s scored critical goals to have them tied for first place in the Premier League.”
Perhaps most telling is that Garber said he had a feeling the loan extension would happen. Lampard’s agent shot down rumors of a loan extension as recently as November. NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna took a trip to Man City in December to discuss Lampard’s arrival date. If Garber had such prescient feelings, he’s way ahead of the player, his agent, and both teams.
Here’s another interesting question: When NYCFC heads to Manchester City for its 10-day preseason training session, with Lampard spend any time in the NYCFC XI?