Los Angeles FC planning for ‘long-term partnership’ with new signing Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale will hope to build his fitness for the World Cup, but Los Angeles FC are eager to ensure his stay in the MLS is not short.
Los Angeles FC want to form a “long-term partnership” with Gareth Bale, not just an agreement for six months before the World Cup.
That is the message from LAFC’s co-president John Thorrington, who spoke for the first time on the reported one-year deal to bring the Wales international to the United States.
Bale revealed on Sunday he would join the MLS side when his Real Madrid contract expires and is said to have turned down a return to Tottenham, alongside an offer from hometown club Cardiff City.
The 32-year-old will hope to prove his fitness before the World Cup in November, but Thorrington insists LAFC aim to keep Bale beyond the tournamnent in Qatar.
Long-term partnership with Bale
“I’d love to get into specifics but, as policy, I don’t,” Thorrington told reporters when asked about the finances behind the deal.
“What I can tell you is that LAFC and Gareth are hoping that this is a long-term partnership and step for Gareth and his family.
“It was never about six months just for the World Cup. We were always talking about longer-term than that. That was very clear from Gareth and his representative.
“Obviously, we expect him to be a top, top player for us and in this league, but we will do so sensibly.
“When Gareth is looking at what he needs to do, his priority will be at LAFC, we are absolutely sure of that, but we’re not naive to the fact that he, like some other players of ours, have a World Cup on the horizon.”
LAFC lead the way
LAFC lead the Western Conference in MLS after a 2-0 victory over New York Red Bulls.
Steve Cherundolo’s side host LA Galaxy on July 9, the first fixture after Bale could arrive, and Thorrington hopes to have the forward in action by then.
“We don’t have a firm date. Our window opens in early July and that will be the first time we can register him,” he added.
“We still have to go through immigration paperwork and things like that but we are hopeful that in the next week to 10 days we’ll be able to take care of that for him and his family, to welcome them to Los Angeles and in order for him to start to get up to speed with the group and get his fitness up.
“The first game he would be potentially available for would be the game we have here on July 8.”
Chiellini and Bale
World Cup winner Giorgio Chiellini has also signed for LAFC from Juventus this month, but Thorrington assures neither the centre-back nor Bale have moved for financial reasons.
“You don’t win five Champions League trophies, you’re not the most valuable player of recent times, if you don’t have that hunger,” Thorrington continued.
“We did our due diligence and I’m really excited about what this change of scene will mean for Gareth and his ability to focus on playing.
“If Gareth was making this decision with a financial motive, he wouldn’t be in MLS. I think what he saw in LAFC is a unique opportunity to make a real impact.”