5 Reasons Why Steven Gerrard Isn't the Right Fit for the LA Galaxy
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is set to join the L.A. Galaxy after signing an 18-month contract, per Jeff Carlisle of ESPN FC. The deal will reportedly be worth a pro-rated $6 million per year. MLS will pick up $750,000 of Gerrard's salary.
At first look, signing the Reds captain is a great move for the Galaxy. Gerrard is a marketable player so LA will sell more merchandise, tickets, advertising and generate more revenue as a result.
However, there are negatives to signing the Liverpool legend. His position on the team is unknown and MLS is a unique league and difficult to understand. The cons will be ranked in terms of how hard these potential issues can be resolved.
Here are five reasons why Gerrard isn't the right fit for the LA Galaxy.
5. Which Position Will He Play?
Gerrard's role won't be determined until he arrives at his first training session, so his position will be an unknown.
The 34-year-old has operated in a deeper role for Liverpool over the last couple of seasons. However, in his prime, Gerrard was deployed further up the pitch as a winger or a No. 10, which is where he should play in MLS.
Stefan Ishizaki plays on the right flank, and Gerrard is ineffective on the left, so he would have to start behind the strikers under the current 4-2-2-2 formation.
Head coach Bruce Arena will most likely have to reshuffle his system in the middle of the campaign once Gerrard arrives. Arena made some tactical tweaks last summer, which led to Gyasi Zardes' breakout campaign after moving into a central role.
The American tactician will have to do the same with Gerrard.
4. Physicality of MLS
Both leagues have an aggressive style of play. However, in MLS, where the quality of soccer is lower than the Premier League, there's often more physicality involved in matches.
This factor is something Gerrard will have to settle into when he arrives on the pitch. On the bright side, the ex-England international is accustomed to hard tackles, although it will be tougher at his age and with the increased travel time.
3. Longevity of the Deal
Gerrard's 18-month deal doesn't give the Galaxy long-term stability. Gerrard has significantly slowed down over the last couple of seasons, and even though MLS is a step down from the Premier League, he will still have to work hard during training, games and deal with the travel.
It's unknown whether Gerrard will be valuable past the 2015 season, especially with high wages. LA could simply plead for the midfielder to stay, but it's dependent on the Liverpool captain's fitness, ability and his family.
At 34, it's hard to fathom Gerrard sticking around for more than an extra year after the reported deal's expiry date.
2. Signing Gerrard Doesn't Address Needs
Landon Donovan's departure frees up salary cap space and an extra designated player spot. However, Gerrard is a luxury signing and doesn't fill any glaring hole in the squad.
LA could use some defensive depth. Leonardo commits too many errors and often finds himself out of position. Oscar Sorto and Tommy Meyer are decent backups at right-back and center back, respectively. Todd Dunivant is coming off a major injury, so it's yet to be determined if he can help out.
Assuming head coach Bruce Arena sticks with the same system of a 4-2-2-2, the Galaxy needs to sign a left winger to compliment Stefan Ishizaki on the opposite flank. Gerrard cannot excel in any of these positions.
It would be a conundrum for Arena if Gerrard signs with LA, especially if they use their last DP spot on the Liverpool midfielder.
1. Moving Midseason
Traditionally, whenever a player arrives in MLS in the middle of the season after playing in Europe, he struggles.
Clint Dempsey scored just once in nine appearances with the Seattle Sounders when he was signed from Tottenham in the summer of 2013.
Even David Beckham went through a slow start in the United States. He played in just five matches, but he was still dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered in Spain.
Jermaine Jones is one player who thrived right from the get-go. However, Gerrard is 34 and not in the best physical shape. He'll also join the Galaxy after a gruelling Premier League season, which could lead to injuries.
What do you think of Steven Gerrard joining the LA Galaxy? Is this a good or bad move?