MetroStars give up on Macca
By Chris Bergin (ussocceruk.com). Last Updated: 16/03/04 8:25am
The New York/New Jersey MetroStars have conceded defeat in their bid to bring Manchester City midfielder Steve McManaman to MLS.
The American outfit were thought to be planning an ambitious deal for the former Liverpool and Real Madrid star with the money they have available from the departures of Tim Howard and Clint Mathis.
MetroStars general manager Nick Sakiewicz confirmed the club were interested in McManman, but revealed MLS clubs were keen to lose the reputation that top stars only arrive to play in America for a final swansong in their careers.
"While players of Macca's quality would certainly do well in our league, I think it is important to qualify that statement by saying they would do well only if they brought their 'A-game' with them," said Sakiewicz.
"Professional football in the United States is no longer about older players finding one last contract or coming on a nice extended holiday while playing a little football before full retirement."
The MetroStars' predecessor, The New York Cosmos, took an opposite angle to the one that MLS is currently employing, bringing in a wealth of ageing international stars much to the detriment of the American domestic footballing scene.
The MetroStars - bar the short stay of German legend Lothar Matthaus - have preferred to help nurture American talent, not only for the benefit of themselves, but for the national team, and also the pockets of the League in the instance of Howard's lucrative move to Old Trafford.
"There are a number of players that have come to the US with that in mind and have failed terribly," added Sakiewicz.
"MLS is a very competitive league and no matter who the player is - and at what level he has achieved - he must come to play competitive football."
Sakiewicz believes MLS has a lot to offer and that it would prove to be an attractive option to a number of players.
"I believe the best things we have to offer all players, young and experienced, are that there is a great football environment we have within our club and throughout the New York area," added Sakiewicz
"Our stadium, training facilities, fans and overall work environment is as good as any top class team in the world, and in some cases better, and the quality of life in the New York metropolitan area is second to none and that is a real attraction to high profile players, as well as young new players coming into the system."
While the MetroStars look to fill playing positions in the team with time running out before the start of the new season, the club also has a major off the pitch issue moving towards finalisation.
The MetroStars and their fans are eagerly awaiting the date for their brand new purpose-built stadium in Harrison, New Jersey, with MLS moving towards a goal of having the majority of their clubs in European-style stadiums, as the US top-flight tries to progress through new facilities and league expansion.