With Giovani dos Santos’ transfer to the MLS confirmed, the top flight of US football seems to have taken yet another step towards becoming a high-quality destination for top-level footballers, rather . At the Los Angeles Galaxy, the 26-year old Mexican will link-up with the likes of Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard, and that is exactly the point. The names that now go around the division are no longer washed-up oldies who came to the US due to a lack of opportunities elsewhere. Some of the latter type might still be in the memory of those who followed the league from its early years. There was Germany legend and former world footballer of the year Lothar Matthaus for example, who joined the New York MetroStars aged 39 in 2000. The German stayed for about seven months and left without having made much of an impact towards the end of the year.
Since then, the MLS has come a long way. Dos Santos will now compete with players like Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore for instance, who would have easily been able to find themselves some decent European clubs to ply their trade at. Instead, they too followed the call of a competitive league that is constantly aiming for more. Giovani dos Santos joins the Galaxy with the experience of 128 La Liga appearances, 17 Premier League and 14 Turkish Super Lig games. Educated at Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, the attacking midfielder is equipped with great technical skills, including a great range of passing. The Mexican can also be a source of goals, having scored 11 goals in 31 La Liga appearances for Spanish La Liga side Villarreal during the 2013/14 season for instance.
It is equally intriguing to look at some of the incoming players’ ages. Dos Santos is just 26, Giovinco is 28, Altidore is 25. These are just some examples, but we are ultimately talking about internationals in their prime. Sebastian Giovinco for example, has 21 appearances for Italy to his name, dos Santos has represented Mexico on 89 occasions. Add to that the experience and profile of the likes of Clint Dempsey, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo, and the division looks like an extremely competitive landscape.
There is still a long way to go for MLS to become one of the world’s top destinations for football, but the division is certainly on the road to increased success. Those who want to enjoy the twilight years of their career should therefore stay away from this league and look at the likes of Qatar and India’s Super League for the time being.
For Giovani dos Santos’ full performance statistics take a look here.