Steve Davis wrote a great piece at FourFourTwo about MLS teams getting burned on signing big names. In light of Didier Drogba’s petulance on Sunday in Montreal, this is an issue for MLS teams to consider as they look to make major signings.
Atlanta is in a good place as a club at the moment where chasing big names, just for the sake of signing someone to gain attention in the marketplace or energize the fanbase, is not a necessity. The fans who have jumped on board before a ball has been kicked, before a coach was signed, and before even half of the roster was signed has made that a reality.
Other clubs around the league do not have that luxury. Colorado went in big this year to add U.S. national team players Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard. The club needed a shot in the arm on the field, and also needed some big names that would make them relevant in the community. It has worked on both fronts this year.
Montreal, New York City, and Los Angeles all feel like they have to sign big names to get attention in their markets. The Drogba, Lampard, and Gerrard signings demonstrate that approach. All have had some success, but all have had some issues as well. Drogba’s reluctance to come back this season, then his reluctance to play on turf, have cause the Impact problems as they have tried to integrate him into the team. Lampard and Gerrard have both had numerous injuries, as well as some runs of poor play, that have caused their teams’ problems.
There will never be a blueprint for all MLS teams to follow in this regard. Each market is too different and has its own individual challenges that could force a player like Tim Howard to be highly valued in Colorado, but not as much in another city. Some teams will have more resources to make big signings than others.
However, Davis is absolutely correct in that the league and its clubs have to be more considerate of the whole package when signing some of these big names. Selling some shirts and some tickets to casual fans is a nice bump, but the long term investment has to pay off for the clubs or they have wasted their money.
We can dig deeper into this tonight on the ATLSoccer weekly chat on Facebook Live. Join us starting at 8:00 p.m., bring any Atlanta United or general questions to the table and we’ll discuss them then.
Didier Drogba and drama in Montreal, it was inevitable (FourFourTwo)
USL expects a decision on its application for Division 2 status by Christmas (Business of Soccer)
Darlington Nagbe might be done with the USMNT (Stars and Stripes FC)
Football Manager will simulate Brexit in this year’s edition (SB Nation)
Some people are not a fan of the proposed changes to the World Cup (Guardian)
Paulo Dybala is a superstar (SB Nation)
FINAL: GSU 2, Jacksonville 0. The Panthers post their second shutout of the season, Casey Shultis with the game-winner.— GSUMensSoccer (@GSUMensSoccer) October 19, 2016