With the LA Galaxy not set to welcome Steven Gerrard until the summer, trialist Mika Vayrynen is hoping to fill the Liverpool captain's role in the interim.
Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen could be set to serve as Steven Gerrard’s stopgap for the LA Galaxy over the first half of the 2015 MLS season.
Vayrynen, 33, has joined the reigning league champions on trial during their preseason tour of Europe, and appeared as a second-half substitute in Monday afternoon’s 2-1 loss to Swedish first division side Hammarby at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.
Out of contract with HJK Helsinksi at present, the 59-times capped veteran delivered a composed performance during his 45-mintues on the pitch, and could now be in line for a full-time deal.
With the Liverpool skipper not set to arrive in LA until the summer, and the club trading midfield stalwart Marcelo Sarvas to the Colorado Rapids last month, head coach Bruce Arena has admitted that he is after someone to pair alongside the ever-reliable Juninho, and that could well be his latest camp invitee.
“[We want someone] just to play well and complement the team,” Arena told MLSsoccer.com. “We're not asking people to do things that they can't do, and whoever plays in that midfield position will have qualities that obviously are different than Marcelo's, and that doesn't mean that's bad.
“That simply means we have a team that understands the different strengths and weaknesses of each player, and we accommodate that in our style.”
Vayrynen is in fact more than familiar with one current member of the Galaxy roster, having been teammates with left-back Robbie Rogers at Leeds United in 2012.
Arriving at Elland Road as a free agent in September 2011 following his summer release from Heerenveen, the former Eredivise star endured a torrid time during his seven months with the Championship club, making just 12 total appearances amid a rash of injuries before seeing his contract terminated the following April.
He has since experienced better fortune after moving back to his native Finland to join HJK, however, netting seven goals in 57 games over the past two seasons, while impressing enough in the Europa League to earn back his spot in the national team.
It remains to be seen whether he will join LA in Ireland next week for the final match of their trip against Shamrock Rovers, but one wouldn’t bet against him following in the footsteps of the likes of Simo Valakari and Teemu Tainio in becoming the latest Fin to head to MLS.