On Tuesday it was announced that former England captain Steven Gerrard will leave MLS outfit LA Galaxy at the end of the year.
The 36-year-old has spent the last 18 months plying his trade in the American top-flight. However, his American adventure is now set to come to an end.
A lukewarm time in the US
By the fans and journalist accounts of Steven Gerrard’s career in LA, he enjoyed a lukewarm time in MLS.
He headed to the States in the twilight of his career. Much was expected of the midfielder after he captained Liverpool and England with such gusto down the years.
He was another high-profile European great brought in to raise the profile of the league. Like a number of European players heading to MLS in the fag-end of his career, he struggled to live up to his hype.
No doubt Steven Gerrard was a great player for Liverpool and at times for England. However, there is a reason he moved away from the top-flight. He was no longer good enough to feature on a regular basis for the Reds, so decided to take the now well-travelled route to the US.
From reports it seemed like the midfielder and his family enjoyed the lifestyle. However, on the pitch his performances were nothing like those of his pomp in the Premier League. At 36 to be fair, it would wrong to expect them to be.
Steven Gerrard is a Liverpool legend and will always be regarded as one of the Reds greatest players. However, he is unlikely to be remembered as favourably in LA as by Liverpool fans.
Linked with a number of clubs
A number of clubs have been linked with signing the veteran star in the January transfer window. The favourites to nab the midfielder’s signature at the moment are SPL giants Celtic at odds of 2/1. The Bhoy’s are of course managed by former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers worked with Gerrard during his time as Liverpool boss and has praised the midfielder. However, he has refused to be drawn on speculation that the midfielder could be plying his trade in Glasgow in the New Year.
Another potential destination that has been heavily mooted is Championship leaders Newcastle United. Again the Magpies are managed by a former Liverpool boss who Gerrard worked under in Rafa Benitez.
Benitez and Gerrard are reported to have had a close relationship, so a short-term move to the north east may just appeal to the midfielder. Gerrard is unlikely to play every week, but he could prove to be a useful asset to the Magpies in the second tier for the rest of the season.
A return to former club Liverpool has even been mooted, which is something that current Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has refused to rule out. However, it seems unlikely that Gerrard would return to Merseyside in a playing capacity, but instead as a member of the backroom staff.
Maybe it’s time to call it a day
The rumour mill and Gerrard himself claim that he has options both on and off the field. Gerrard is already taking his coaching badges. Therefore the move into coaching could be a very smooth one for the former England star.
If Gerrard struggled to make a major impact in MLS, it would be a shame to see him struggle if he moved to Newcastle or Celtic. Neither the Championship nor the SPL are easy leagues to play in, no matter how much people may deride the SPL.
Gerrard seems to be in good physical shape and mentally he may find it hard to retire from playing. However, maybe it is the right time for the midfielder to call time on his playing career. The end of his American adventure feels like a natural conclusion to his time as a football player.
Should Steven Gerrard now hang up his boots?