LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena cannot put an exact date on when Steven Gerrard will eventually link up with the club but expects him to be ready to make his debut come the July 11 International Champions Cup match against Mexico's Club América at the StubHub Center.
Arena was speaking to lagalaxy.com after watching Gerrard make his 710th and final appearance for Liverpool in the weekend’s Premier League season finale, when the Reds skipper grabbed the consolation goal in a 6-1 thrashing at Stoke.
The former England midfielder will now take a brief break before beginning the next chapter of his career in the States, with Arena revealing that the MLS Cup holders have been in recent discussions with their latest star signing about his arrival plans.
He cannot officially play for the Galaxy until the league’s summer transfer window opens on July 8 but the 34-year-old could get his first run-out just days later in front of an expectant home crowd.
“We expect him here before July 11,” said Arena. “We haven’t finalized a date yet. He will be here, he’ll get some training in and by the time that he’s eligible to play; he’ll be ready to go.”
Club captain and reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane also expressed his excitement at his former Liverpool teammate’s impending arrival, while taking issue with a recent article from ESPN FC which suggested that he had “warned” Gerrard in an interview that he was coming to the US “to win, not for a holiday”.
“Like I said before, I did not come here for a holiday; I came here to win things. Some players do come for a holiday, but Stevie is certainly not one of those players as I said [in the article],” said Keane. “Unless people haven’t seen him play, Stevie is not one of those players, he’s a born winner and he likes to win things. I’m speaking on behalf as myself as I’ve said since my first press conference [back in 2011].
“People like Steven Gerrard are the players that we want in this team and in this organization because they’re the winners. They’re players that want to win and still want to achieve and win things regardless of what else they’ve accomplished in their career. They still have the hunger to play and to train, and that’s the same as me.”
The Galaxy now have eight league matches to go before they can use Gerrard, following what has been a slow start to their 2015 campaign.
After winning three of the past four MLS Cup titles, the club have taken just 17 points from their first 13 games this term, having lost Landon Donovan to retirement in the winter and Keane to a groin strain for a seven-game stretch.
However, Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Owen Coyle’s Houston Dynamo, in which Keane returned to set up Alan Gordon’s stoppage-time header, ended a five-game winless streak and could just prove the start of a turnaround ahead of Gerrard turning up in Southern California.