By now, you have seen the various reports that are linking former Arsenal, Chelsea and Roma left back Ashley Cole to MLS and the Los Angeles Galaxy. I don’t know who thought this was a good idea but Ashley Cole to MLS is terrible for all involved.
Why does this move help MLS?
When MLS and their teams go out to sign a world class player who is years past his prime, it is usually for marketing purposes to either “put butts in the seats” or ” put eyes on the tube.” How exactly does signing Ashley Cole help with this? Who is going to watch a Galaxy game and thinking “I’m going so I can watch Ashley Cole.” For one thing, LA is already one of the most popular teams. Two, Steven Gerrard is already on the team so many English MLS fans are already watching the Galaxy because of Gerrard. And three, while Cole was a great player, he wasn’t exactly the most popular player due to his past. In other words, Ashley Cole barely has any marketing value for MLS to utilize and will be way past his prime.
Why does this move help the Galaxy?
Of all the positions for the Galaxy to build upon, left back is the most perplexing. The Galaxy already have one of the best left backs in MLS in Robbie Rogers. Yeah, it’s great to have depth but LA signing Cole while keeping Rogers is not a depth move because neither one will be thrilled with playing off the bench. Also, Rogers is likely going to be getting paid far less than Cole, has more upside in future years and Rogers is arguably more marketable for MLS than Cole. For instance, Rogers is a part of GQ’s Most Stylish Man of 2015 along with Pep Guardiola and David Beckham. Ashley Cole isn’t going to have that kind of mainstream appeal in the United States. Maybe Rogers moves up to more of a midfield role but the move is confusing from the Galaxy’s point of view.
Why does this move help Ashley Cole?
Hear it from the man himself. When he joined Roma in July 2014, he turned down offers from MLS teams saying, “I have had other offers from USA, but I didn’t want to sit on the beach yet. I won a lot in my career and I have no intention to stop. I’m here [at Roma] to win.”
Maybe the man has had an epiphany about how MLS can surprise people but let’s recap. You are going to be overpaying a past his prime world class player who didn’t (and possibly still doesn’t) take MLS seriously and won’t even be the most marketable player on the team (or even the position) he is supposed to sign for. Unless everyone is desperate, this doesn’t work for anyone.
But you know what, as much as I don’t want to see Ashley Cole in MLS and think it would be a disaster to all if he did, there’s a part of me that wants to see him play for the Galaxy. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get embarrassed by some young, no name rookie as he pries himself away from sitting on the beach for a couple hours to play a game in Carson. Just do yourself a favor Ashley, if you still think MLS is easy, talk to Steven Gerrard before coming over. He’s singing a different tune about MLS after just a few months.