I want to start off by saying, I think it is too soon. Way too soon.
Gio is still very young. Couple this in with the recent signing of Steven Gerrard and you’ll understand why.
Just like David Beckham did for Galaxy and many others have done for other MLS teams, Gerrard’s signing into the MLS shows a trend that has been seen by big names in the soccer world.
Unless you’re an American player born and bred within the United States (Landon Donovan, we miss you), the MLS is not the ideal destination for a soccer player who still has many years left in their career. The MLS is a place to go when one has already completed their grand journey. It is a warm welcome that is acknowledge to those greats who have journeyed and accomplished so much within the grand leagues in Europe. It is a sanctuary.
This sanctuary should not have even come into Gio’s spectrum. His time at Villarreal was well spent and even if it was not going to continue there, it should have still continued within the European circuit. He is too strong a contender to really have to come to the MLS. The style of play is much different and the level of pace and overall physical requirement is not at the same level as it is in Europe, regardless of what many American analysts say otherwise.
That being said, there are some benefits to Gio’s move. The most clear and definite one is the amount of money that not only Gio is getting for the deal, but that the LA Galaxy organization will be generating as well. In a city that inhabits millions of Mexican-Americans who worship El Tri, ticket sales will skyrocket in no time (that’s me included)! Business wise, it is a great starting point for Galaxy if they want to start a trend of trying to lure in more Mexican players (both young and close to retirement).
The MLS being at a different level of pace from the rest of Europe still holds true, but LA Galaxy’s is a big fish in a small pond when it comes to this situation so Gio coming to LA as opposed to a smaller city is very beneficial. He’ll be playing alongside Gerrard, Zardes, Keane, Juninho and many other strong attackers that will likely help him improve his skill rather than become a stalemate. And if they are able to secure another championship next season while Gio is on the team, his confidence will surely be up for when he goes to play with the national team.
I do believe it is too soon for Gio to be coming to LA as a soccer analyst. But as a fan of Gio and Galaxy, it is very fortunate that I’ll get to see such a great player in such a close destination. Hey, maybe I’ll even run into him around LA. Welcome to the neighborhood, Gio!