LA Galaxy’s aggressive pursuit of Steven Gerrard was “what he wanted to hear”

The Los Angeles Galaxy learned a valuable lesson from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's past in telling him "what he wanted to hear" in their aggressive pursuit of the midfielder.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Friday, December 26, 2014: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard after the Premier League match against Burnley at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 34-year-old will leave Anfield at the end of this season after confirming he will be joining the reigning Major League Soccer champions in the summer.

Both Gerrard and Galaxy themselves describe the recruitment process as "aggressive", which is in stark contrast to the way Liverpool handled his contract negotiations.

The midfielder admits had the Reds offered him a new contract last summer he would not be bringing an end an association which stretches back to when he was eight years old.

But an extension to his existing deal was not raised with the player until November – after Gerrard had expressed his surprise that no talks had been forthcoming – by which time he had already been told by Brendan Rodgers his playing time would be managed.

Such a tactic had already seen him left on the bench for Liverpool's Champions League match against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and that, combined with the delay in negotiations, gave interested parties the encouragement they needed to make approaches.

History has shown – most pertinently in his dalliance with Chelsea in 2005 which was only averted after a last-minute intervention by then chief executive Rick Parry – Gerrard needs to feel he is wanted but the current regime, by accident or design, did not heed those lessons.

"Their (the Galaxy's) pursuing me was very aggressive," Gerrard told

"The talks I've had with them have been very positive, they basically told me what I wanted to hear, told me about the winning mentality of the club, what their goals are for the future.

"Having spoken to the manager Bruce Arena and the people above him they are very aggressive and they want success and that is what I want and that is how I want to finish my career.

"I'd like to think I've got the same attitude as the people who have made this signing happen – the manager, the CEO and the owner, they like to see themselves as winners."

Galaxy president Chris Klein said, helped by the backing of owner Philip Anschutz, they went in hard in their targeting of the player.

"The LA Galaxy continue to compete for championships and strive for unparalleled success each year, and signing Steven is another example of Mr Anschutz's continued commitment to the growth of soccer in Los Angeles and North America," he said.

"We were aggressive in our pursuit of Steven and look forward to his contributions to our club both on and off the field."

Having been told his game-time would be reduced over the coming season Gerrard felt he was ready for a move as he still has plenty to offer.

"I think it is time for a fresh challenge in my life," added the midfielder.

"At this stage of my career I think the timing is right to move on, but I still feel like a player.

"I've watched a lot of their games and I still know I can perform well for the next couple of years so I want to go into a set-up with a winning mentality with a team that is used to winning.

"I am not going over there for a holiday or to enjoy myself. I am going there to win; if I win and play well then my life becomes enjoyable."

Gerrard admits he hopes the move will also be beneficial to his family.

"Football is my life and it will continue to be so for the next couple of years," he said.

"There is also a huge bonus involved in terms of where they (Galaxy) are located, that will be nice for my family also.

"The biggest challenge will be settling in. I've lived in Liverpool all my life and am a Scouser through and through.

"But you only get one life and it is important to try different things, new experiences and it is a big thing for my children to take them out of their comfort zone and give them a life experience to allow them to develop as humans as well." PA

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