New York City coach Patrick Vieira says the growth of MLS is similar to that of the Premier League.
The former Arsenal midfielder spent nine trophy-laden years at Arsenal before finishing his career in the Premier League with New York City affiliates Manchester City.
“I think the MLS is growing up really well,” Vieira said.
“I think when you look at the MLS and where it was 10 years ago and where it is now it is growing so fast and it is growing in the right way.
“The MLS now reminds me of the Premier League when I was there a few years ago.
“Because even in France when we were talking about the Premier League, it was the third or fourth league because everyone was talking about the Italian league or the Spanish league or even the Dutch or the Portuguese league – the English league wasn’t at the top.
“But obviously in the last few years that has changed a lot and I think the MLS will go the same way.”
But Vieira admitted that the restrictions of the league’s salary cap could stunt that growth in the face of the financial juggernaut that is the Chinese Super League.
CSL clubs outspent the rest of the world in the January transfer window, as players such as Jackson Martinez left Atletico Madrid for the Far East, and Vieira said it was a cause for concern.
City are not short of star power themselves, boasting World Cup winners David Villa and Andrea Pirlo as well as former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard despite being well into their 30s.
“I think [the CSL is] a danger,” he said.
“I think when you see players going to China it is always a big loss for the MLS.
“But one of the problems I believe in the league is the salary cap because it does not allow you to bring the better players and they decide to go to China.
“But at the same time, I believe that players have a choice.
“Some go to China for different reasons and some go to MLS for different reasons, but I think China is a massive competitor for bringing players to the MLS.”
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