MLS Commissioner Don Garber was at the SoccerEx conference in Manchester talking about MLS’ place in the worldwide soccer landscape.
During the conference, Garber talked about various subjects. From the progress of David Beckham’s Miami team to not having pro/rel to saying where he wants MLS to be in 10 years. Garber also talked about a certain legend from northeast England that may not be spoken nicely of on the streets of Manchester.
When Liverpool fans learned that Steven Gerrard would leave the only team he ever played for and go to the United States to play for the LA Galaxy, many held out just a little bit of hope that Gerrard would come back on a loan during the MLS offseason. It even went so far as Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre saying that a loan was “conceivable.” There were also talks about taking him on a winter loan according to The Telegraph.
Garber came back today to squash those rumors by saying that he “hadn’t heard that was something that was being contemplated.” He even lamented a situation when David Beckham went to AC Milab on loan from LA in 2009 and led MLS fans to be a bit confused about Beckham playing for two teams.
Now that it’s 2015, I’m pretty sure MLS fans are knowledgeable enough to know what the loan system is about. Having said that, I think Garber is right, it’s not advantageous to MLS or anyone to have a big name older European DP, who MLS has invested a lot of money in, to go out in an offseason loan.
Let’s take Steven Gerrard for example, The man is 35 years old and it’s getting tougher and tougher to recuperate after a game. Does it really help anyone at this point if Gerrard goes on loan? Does it help Steven Gerrard to sacrifice an offseason to put in a few (likely terrible) performances on a team that is vastly different than what he was used to a few months ago just so he can be in a Liverpool shirt? No. Does it help Liverpool for potentially disrupting their season to bring on Steven Gerrard for a few games and potentially derail their momentum? No. Does it really help MLS for letting Steven Gerrard go on loan to Liverpool for a few months and not be able to fully recuperate over an offseason? No. So you see, this is a lose-lose-lose situation.
While it very much could be a great thing for Steven Gerrard to go back to Liverpool, it’s much more likely that he’ll be better off staying in LA and concentrating on MLS. The MLS season is a long season and Gerrard is going to need every last day of rest to withstand the kind of travel he has never experienced. Commissioner Garber is right to leave him back to LA.