A Los Angeles Galaxy insider told Goal.com this week that Chelsea mega-star Frank Lampard's move to the MLS champion Galaxy is "all but done."
With the recent retirement of England legend David Beckham, it seems that Lampard, who has 158 goals and 89 assists in 545 Premier League appearances, will move into the role once held by his former 3 Lions teammate.
The 34-year-old Lampard, whose contract ends with the Blues this June, has been told a contract extension is "very unlikely" from the team office, despite his seven goals in 14 games this season. (Albeit four were from the penalty spot.)
Tim Leiweke, President of AEG, the ownership group of the Galaxy, originally expressed his interest in Brazilian midfielder Kaka quite heavily over Lampard by saying "I've gotten to spend some time with (Lampard), and he's an unbelievably good guy. But is he the right fit for our team now for what we need?"
|Beckham (left) and Lampard (right) together on the England National Team|
Chelsea and Galaxy fans alike are skeptical of the deal for one of the most productive Attacking Midfielders in the history of the British football, as a move to the MLS has become all too common as the league slowly transforms into an "Island of Misfit Toys" for aging soccer stars.
This is really nothing new for soccer in America, the NASL, as the predominant league in the U.S. throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, once coaxed legends such as Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff and even the great Pele to play in the States throughout the twilight of their careers.
More recently, Premiere League stars like Robbie Keane, Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry and Beckham have crossed the pond in an attempt to bolster their popularity, enjoy American lifestyle or make some extra cash in the MLS.
As we move on to the future and attempt another try at boosting the popularity of "football" in America, we must ask ourselves if this growing trend of ex-stars in the MLS is helping the game, or if it's just a money grabbing scheme for MLS owners.
Should the MLS gravitate more to the South American and Dutch systems that train and mold young players and then sell them to the highest bidder, or can having a 39-year-old Messi or Ronaldo truly help American soccer reach its peak?
For now, I will happily accept the Lampards and Kakas of the world, but long for the day when an aging international star doesn't have to have the burden of making soccer popular in the U.S., because one of our own natives has already owned up to the task.
Tell us in the comments below what you think about the aging-star migration trend. What will it take for soccer to emerge in America?