Steven Gerrard called it a “match made in heaven.” Arena said he believes the Liverpool legend is a “perfect fit.” So did Galaxy president Chris Klein.
Those are strong yet somehow routine words when describing a marquee signing at a new club. So is it just chatter or do they have a point?
With Landon Donovan departing, the Galaxy have a designated player spot open, and that spot will almost immediately be filled at the end of the Premier League season. Gerrard has been nothing but a classy player on and off the field (to steal Derek Jeter’s copyrighted description) and that made an immediate impact on the Galaxy front office.
“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,” Klein told the LA Times. “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.”
His off the field actions speak for themselves, so looking on the field, it actually makes a fair bit of sense. Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas are the only central midfielders on the roster who got any solid bit of playing time last year (aside from Kenny Walker’s six appearances) and with Marcelo 33, he could use a bit of rest come July when Gerrard arrives.
However, as our very own Andy Edwards points out, it would likely require a change of formation to get all three of those midfielders into the squad, something not always advisable in the middle of the season. But obviously, Arena isn’t thinking about that right now.
“I’m not concerned about how he’s going to fit in with our team,” Arena said. “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.”
Translation: We didn’t sign Gerrard to fit into the team, we signed him because he’s Steven Gerrard, and he wanted to play for us, so we said yes.
This too helps strengthen the notion that Gerrard chose the Galaxy, not the other way around. “One of the reasons I chose LA Galaxy was because of the success they’ve had recently,” Gerrard said. “I want to finish my career very strong. I want to add some medals and trophies to my collection.”
So while the two parties will play this up like it’s a “match made in heaven,” that will be very much debated up until his arrival in July.