By David Cartlidge
As we prepare to wave goodbye to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, here are five further Premier League stars who could bet set to see out their playing careers on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Togolese striker could be part of a major clearout at Spurs in the near future, as Mauricio Pochettino aims to bring in his own men. Adebayor, who has never hid the fact that money plays a big part in his career as a footballer, might see a lucrative deal with a MLS outfit as a perfect final payday. Adebayor’s would bring experience of playing in one of Europe’s best leagues, a proven track record in terms of goalscoring, but also plenty more to offer.
The player, now 30, still has many good years ahead of him and might view a life outside the glare of the English media as an ideal scenario. It would be a superb move for the ambitious American league too, given that Adebayor is by no means over the hill, and would play against the stereotype of signing past-it veterans.
How does a contest with David Villa for MLS’s top scorer sound? A player of Didier Drogba’s ability would be a major catch, from a quality and marketing perspective. Drogba is a genuine ambassador for African football and if MLS’ power men can get him on board it might well be another area they can target as they look to improve their global brand.
In terms of football meanwhile, Drogba has shown while he’s not at his previous level, he can still trouble top defenders in England. Imagine ‘The Drog’ then, in MLS, using his physicality to hustle opponents and unhinge defences. Few are fitter than the Ivorian and there is no reason he can’t impact the league in a significant manner.
Lampard, Drogba…John Terry? Could it be a Chelsea Old Boys reunion in the States? A bit of golf on some of the finest fairways in the world? John Terry could be another strong figure of the Premier League turning up in MLS, as the division looks to develop its defensive reputation as well as its attacking one. Many of the players who have made the switch to MLS are of the attacking sort, so someone boasting Terry’s experience and honours could well add an extra dimension to the league.
USA’s youngest defenders could learn from him at close quarters, while the centre back plays out his final years in the sun, away from the pressure of the Premier League. Terry’s legs are unfortunately going, and rather than a sad decline at the highest level, bowing out now could be well advised. The 34-year-old has also said in the past he watches MLS, and is impressed by its development in recent seasons.
The Manchester United midfielder general hasn’t been handed a new contract yet, as time runs down on his current deal. Time also appears to be running out for several faces at United, and Carrick, despite his undeniably huge influence on the team, could well be replaced this summer. The player might view any move in England a step down, and a retirement in MLS could well be tempting given Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard will be pitching up there.
A three-way tussle for supremacy between these English midfielders could make for intriguing viewing, and it would be exciting to see who handles the ageing limbs the best. Carrick’s ability to control midfield with simple, but effective passes, could be vital in a league infused with pace and power.
Another contract running down, and another new scene might be just what is required. Stoke City’s Charlie Adam has been linked with various moves given his contractual situation, namely with Spain. However, surely a move to MLS would be more suited to a player of Adam’s skill set.
The Scot is a ponderous player, boasting little speed, and with a tempo of a more casual variety he could become a key figure. Adam’s eye for a pass, and technical ability, aren’t up for question, just the physical aspects of his game. This could be an ideal move for a player with plenty more still to give, but has yet to again really reach the excellent levels achieved with Blackpool.