Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Steven Gerrard joining LA Galaxy next season, says coach Bruce Arena

The Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has confirmed that Steven Gerrard will join the club from Liverpool in July – with the Liverpool captain calling the new relationship a “match made in heaven”.

In an interview with the LA Times, Arena revealed what is expected to be officially announced later on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has confirmed that Steven Gerrard will join the club from Liverpool in July...

“Steven Gerrard arrives in July and by then we will certainly have a plan available,” said Arena, who has led the club to three Major League Soccer titles in four years. “He’s a player of quality. I’m not concerned about how he’s going to fit in. 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, who is understood to have agreed an 18-month deal involving a basic salary of £4m per year, plus image rights, told the paper: “The time’s right for myself and my family for the change, for the fresh challenge.

“I want to finish my career very strong. I want to add some more medals and trophies to my collection. So I think it’s a match made in heaven, really. One of the reasons why I chose the LA Galaxy was because of the success they’ve had recently. But also the plans for more success in the future.”

The 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.”

Confirmation of the deal comes after Gerrard admitted he would have signed a contract extension at Liverpool had it been offered to him last summer rather than in November, by which point Brendan Rodgers had made clear he would no longer be an automatic selection.

“If a contract had been put in front of me in pre-season I would have signed it,” Gerrard 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. Liverpool Football Club have been unbelievable for me since I was eight years old. This club has helped me fulfil my dreams over and over again.”