Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are just a few of the names of former Premier League stars who have made the journey to play in the MLS in the twilight of their careers. The United States has been a popular venue for players to see out their final days in the game due to the quality life in the country along with the relatively low standard of the division, bar a few shining lights.
As a result the number of former stars will only increase over the next few years due to the success of Gerrard and Lampard especially, who have become key men for the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York City FC respectively. They could be joined in the USA by another former England star in the form of John Terry, should Chelsea regain their top-flight crown this season. Antonio Conte’s men have enjoyed a strong start to the 2016/17 campaign and in the latest Premier League odds are 11/2 on the Blues to secure the title.
Should the West London club triumph for the fifth time it could persuade captain Terry to bow out on his career at Stamford Bridge on a high note for pastures new in the States. The 35-year-old was linked with a move to the MLS before signing a new one-year contract to remain with Chelsea. Due to his advancing years and the club’s attempts to bolster their defensive ranks over the summer with failed moves for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, his time to leave could come at the end of the campaign.
Terry could link up with his former team-mate Lampard at New York City or old England colleague Gerrard in Los Angeles, enjoying the final days of his career while maximising his skill set in a league with a slower tempo than England’s top division.
Another ageing star of the Premier League that could well be on his way out is Manchester City’s Yaya Toure. The Ivorian has fallen foul of new manager Pep Guardiola and was left out of the Citizens’ squad for the Champions League group stage, prompting speculation that he will leave the club when the transfer window reopens in January.
The 33-year-old still has the ability to play at the highest level, although there have always been questions raised over his work ethic and attitude, especially his infamous displeasure at City’s failure to recognise his birthday. A transfer to the MLS would appeal to Toure as his technical attributes would help him shine in the division without needing his physical presence that has been diminishing in recent seasons. He would also been the main man at whatever team he would sign for in the States, which would satisfy his ego.
It would be a major coup for an American team to secure the signature of the Ivorian and he would not be short of suitors. A team such as the Houston Dynamo, who have fallen on hard times recently, could add the midfielder to begin a surge back to the top of the MLS after a few seasons of struggle, while Toure could follow the footsteps of compatriot Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact) to join a less-fashionable outfit.