It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Major League Soccer. The MLS season is in full swing right now and with summer on the horizon, the much anticipated arrival of two stars is almost here. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard will join their American clubs in the coming months and it seems they are not the only players eager to come and play in the states.
As the rumor mill continues churning out names left and right, fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for teams to announce the next big signings. This article takes a closer look at some of the players contemplating a move to the MLS.
The most intriguing of all the speculation is Didier Drogba. After winning a Premier League Title this season with Chelsea and receiving a hero’s sendoff in his second stint with the club, the burning question remains, where will Drogba play next season? At 37, Drogba believes he is still a force to be reckoned with and reports indicate that he may finally make the move to MLS. In 2012, Commissioner Don Garber said that Didier was offered the biggest salary in league history but rejected it in favor of Shanghai. Now, three years later, Drogba apparently has an offer on the table to join NYCFC and partner with his old teammate Frank Lampard. It would certainly be a big catch for MLS if they could haul in Drogba, a player who has won four Premier League titles, three League Cups, and four FA Cups.
Earlier this month it was reported that Mario Gomez, the German footballer and Fiorentina striker, could be headed to one of the two MLS clubs in New York. He has had a sub-standard season in Italy so far, scoring only four goals in 20 league appearances. Gomez will turn 30 this summer but is still believed to be a lethal threat on the pitch. It should be noted that with a player salary of $4.6 million per year and what will surely be a large transfer fee, it is unknown whether or not the MLS is willing to pay the cost of bringing Gomez to America. The New York Red Bulls currently have a full squad and sit at 3rd place in the Eastern Conference standings, making it unlikely that they would commit so much money to Gomez at this point in the season. On the other hand, New York City Football Club is off to a poor start in their inaugural season and they would surely make a powerful statement by signing the German striker. If Gomez agrees to leave Fiorentina, a move to NYCFC would not be all that surprising.
Another player to watch is Andrea Pirlo, the Italian soccer star who currently has Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final. At 36, Pirlo no longer impresses with his running ability, but with his brilliant long ball and precision on set pieces. This is the last year of his current contract and Pirlo has been adamant that he has no intention of hanging up his cleats. From the man himself, “I won’t stop playing; I’ll go as long as I have the same great desire to keep training every day.” Pirlo has mentioned that the MLS could be a possibility and teams would certainly line up for a chance to strike a deal with the Italian maestro.
In other news:
Former US international star Oguchi Onyewu is back state side and training with New York City FC. Coach Jason Kreis said that no decision has been made yet on the defender, who was released by English club Charlton Athletic earlier this month. Considered a physically-imposing center back, Onyewu appeared in 69 career caps with the US National Team. He would be a welcomed addition for NYCFC, a club that is currently on a 10-game winless streak and sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.