Before news broke that Steven Gerrard would end his illustrious career at Anfield to join LA Galaxy in the summer, it was harder to envision a repeat 2015 campaign from the incumbent MLS champion.
Nonetheless, the calculated veteran was confirmed to grace the fields in the States, and could furnish an attacking upgrade over retired U.S. legend Landon Donovan, who posted career-best numbers in 2014 (19 assists his largest single-season sum).
Galaxy boss Bruce Arena accepted the premise that LA will enjoy one of the better offensive duos in the league, as MLS MVP Robbie Keane, a former teammate of Gerrard’s, will be reunited with quality Premier League talent.
Arena also expressed his amazement that Gerrard is looking forward to his time in Los Angeles, although he will no longer take part in the world-class competition of England’s top-flight.
“With Gerrard coming, I’ll be blessed with a lot of talent,” Arena said, via Goal.com. “I expect him and Keane to be good, the link-up play will be fantastic. But Gerrard has to focus now on ending his career with Liverpool on a high note. I know they are still involved in a couple of cup competitions and I’m hoping he leaves on a high.”
“We spoke a good bit and, to be honest, I was surprised about his excitment to move to Los Angeles,” Arena told Irish reporters ahead of the Galaxy’s friendly with Shamrock Rovers. “He’s looking forward to a new challenge.”
While some big-name MLS Designated Players are offered increased salaries to lure them away from the spotlight, Gerrard expected base with LA–$6 million–is about half of his current pay from Liverpool; though, like David Beckham, he will likely supplement his income through sponsorships.
But the incentive to try something experimental at the waning stages of his career, and the appeal of Los Angeles for professional athletes, presumably led Gerrard to this decision.