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 By Mike Whalley

Steven Gerrard joins LA Galaxy from Liverpool, club confirm


Steven Gerrard will join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy beginning in July, the club confirmed on Wednesday.

Both the Liverpool captain and Galaxy coach Bruce Arena confirmed to the LA Times on Wednesday that Gerrard would have an 18-month deal, pending confirmation of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Gerrard, 34, will complete the formalities of the deal in the U.K., as he has not been given leave to travel to the U.S. to finalise the move, sources have told ESPN FC.

In an interview with the LA Times, Arena said the contract will be officially announced on Wednesday.

"Steven Gerrard arrives in July and by then we will certainly have a plan available," Arena, who has led the club to three Major League Soccer titles in four years, told the newspaper.

"He's a player of quality. I'm not concerned about how he's going to fit in with our team.

"We have a club now with a proven history of success. All those things go hand in hand in making LA Galaxy a very attractive team for players such as Steven Gerrard."

Galaxy president Chris Klein described the Reds captain as "the perfect fit" for the reigning MLS Cup holders.

"We just started thinking in the universe of players that are out there, we want to make a decision on what signifies a Galaxy-designated player.

"When we look at that, Steven Gerrard is the perfect fit with what he brings to us on the field and the character that he has off it."

Steven Gerrard

Teams captained: Liverpool, England.

Trophies won: FA Cup (2001, 2006); League Cup (2001, 2003, 2012); Champions League (2005); UEFA Cup (2001); UEFA Super Cup (2001, 2005).

Former England captain Gerrard also told the LA Times: "The time's right for myself and my family for the change, the fresh challenge.

"I've been here for a long time. I've given an awful lot back to this club.

"But I now feel it's the time for a fresh break and to try something different.

"I want to finish my career very strong. I want to add some more medals and trophies to my collection. So I think it's a match made in heaven, really.

"One of the reasons why I chose the LA Galaxy was because of the success they've had recently. But also the plans for more success in the future."

Gerrard is set to earn a basic salary of around four million pounds ($6 million) a year, around half of what he currently receives at Anfield, although he will be able to increase that figure through his image rights and sponsorship.

He announced on Friday that he would leave Liverpool when his contract expires in June. And he has backed Jordan Henderson to succeed him as club captain next season. 

Henderson, signed from Sunderland for 16 million pounds in June 2011, became vice-captain in September 2014 following defender Daniel Agger's return to his first club Brondby.

Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo: "I certainly believe Jordan has everything you need to be a great captain.

"He's a fantastic professional who tries to lead by example in every training session and in every game. He has really grown as a player and is improving all the time with experience.

"He can become a great captain for this club. He's a fantastic player for me to hand the armband over to. I've got great respect for Jordan Henderson and I know everyone else at the club feels the same."

England midfielder Henderson, 24, almost left Liverpool after a difficult first season at Anfield, but rejected a move to Fulham in 2012 and chose instead to fight for his place.

Gerrard said: "Initially, it was very difficult for Jordan. He was a Sunderland boy and moving to Liverpool was his first time out of the area. It was a big move at a young age.

"Playing for Liverpool, with all the pressure and expectation, is tough. It's a very demanding club. Jordan stayed and toughed it out. It's in difficult situations like that you learn a lot about the type of player and the type of character someone is.

"He knuckled down and worked even harder. He's a true professional and a very strong character. Every day he's in the gym doing extra work. He doesn't drink and he looks after himself. He has made a lot of sacrifices to play well for this club."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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