Which potential DP do you want to see in MLS in 2012?

DrogbaLampard (Reuters Pictures)

Omar Bravo is gone. David Beckham could be gone. Nicolas Anelka isn't coming.

The Designated Player landscape in MLS is changing and evolving, and even with teams having the flexibility to go after younger DP options or giving players like league veteran Shalrie Joseph a DP deal, the lure of landing a big-name, marketable superstar is still prevalent. As the Los Angeles Galaxy proved last season, spending big money on the right players can pay off with a championship, but it's not only big-city clubs like L.A. and New York that are players in the DP market anymore. 

There are a number of players who have been rumored to be joining MLS, and the rumblings continue to grow as the European winter transfer window and MLS preseason approach. Names like international veterans Alessandro Del Piero, Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack (who are all out of contract this summer) have been tossed around as serious options — either this winter or during the summer window — for a league that continues to gain traction across the globe.

Which potential DP would you most like to see join MLS? Cast your vote after the jump:


How did you vote? Who do you want to see come to MLS? Is there any realistic option not on this list that you think would make a good fit for your team? Would you rather see teams skew toward younger, unproven DPs as opposed to older, more-established veterans?

Share your thoughts below.

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126 Responses to Which potential DP do you want to see in MLS in 2012?

  1. I can’t help but think Lampard will stay and retire at Chelsea. Much like Giggs has become a part of United.

  2. Colin says:

    Write-in Candidate: Kaka.

  3. RandomTimberFan says:

    As with Beckham, I say MLS should swing for the fences and go after Drogba. It would be amazing to see him land with a team other than NY/LA and prove that the league has more than just those two teams worthy of superstars.

  4. BetaMale says:

    Drogba still has the ability to play at a very high level and would absolutely destroy most MLS center backs.

  5. Rob says:

    Wouldn’t hurt to be able parler en francais …

  6. Dimidri says:

    There hasn’t been a ton of talk about him, but with Inter’s season going the way it has, I would LOVE to see Diego Forlan come. I’v seen great soccer players, great teams, and I still think his 2010 World Cup performance is the most inspirational, truly awe-inspiring thing I have ever seen. The way he put the team on his back(who in retrospect, were pretty good) and did it without complaining, without pouting, was amazing.

    He’s 32, nearing an end to his status as a sure-fire Uruguay striker with Suarez, Cavani, and Abreu coming up, and besides still being vary talented I think he brings a good amount of name-cache to ‘World Cup only’ soccer viewers. Plus he won the Golden Boot 2-3 times?

  7. spencer says:

    I prefer someone in their low 30’s so no del piero or guti, I’d say Lamps or Drogba

  8. Dimidri says:

    Agreed. It’s absurd that more players don’t want to play in other American cities. I get that some are probably too small or maybe lack the cosmopolitan aura they want, but come on. Chicago? Boston(understand the ownership, but still)? Philly? Chivas, they’re in LA too? Montreal? Vancouver? D.C.? San Francisco which is in CALIFORNIA?!

  9. jonk says:

    Drogba and Lampard are the only ones on the right side of 35 but Guti could maybe be the next Schelotto.

  10. One team in LA says:

    I’d like to see Lamps in LA and Drogba in NY (or the other way around), just to piss off the cities that don’t matter.

  11. Detroit! says:

    Agreed. And thinking of how a single player can raise MLS’s profile, I’d say a goal-scoring monster athlete like Drogba would generate the most excitement.

  12. Topher says:

    “None of these” should be an option.

  13. adam says:

    age old problem of trying to lure players to the likes of…..columbus…

  14. Keano says:

    Saviola to Montreal

  15. baskets says:

    Of those, Lampard or Drogba. They’re far from being re-treads, still have much to offer. Watching Drogba tear apart most MLS centerbacks would be amusing. And Frank comes with that hot wife of his.

  16. anon says:

    Yossi Benayoun to Red Bulls would be awesome.

  17. Jake says:

    As a Chelsea and New England fan, I’d love to see either Drogba or Lampard in a Revs shirt. However, I think they both have a few more years left in a top flight league such as the EPL.

  18. kpugs says:

    GUTI would tear this league a new b-hole.

  19. anon says:

    also would love to see van Nistelrooy in MLS.

  20. FiveTwo says:

    Drogba would set records in MLS. I would love to see him wowing MLS fans for a few years. Would be fun.

    Otherwise, Del Piero or the Forlan suggestion above. All guys who can do it themselves.

  21. RLW2020 says:

    +1 Ruud and Drogba would be my vote.. they could make any team a contender and pack the stadium too.

  22. RLW2020 says:

    Drogba should be a target for teams outside of LA/NY. He is the most universally respected player on this list. More so than Analeka and almost as much as Beckham.

    He would be huge for teams like Chicago, NE, Philly, DC, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, etc…

    And most of these teams has the money, its just LA/NY that think they should spend the dough..

  23. Dax says:

    You said “want” not “who do you think will sign,” so the answer is all of the above:

    Del Piero: New York

    Lampard: Los Angeles

    Drogba: Montreal

    Guti: Kansas City

    Ballack: Seattle

    Seedorf: Toronto

  24. somedude says:

    Guti said he wants to play in Asia

  25. ko'd says:

    John O’Brien.

    Too soon?

  26. chris says:

    Amen. Would rather see young players given a chance. Its moves like LA singing a old journey man instead of having cardozo or stephens step in

  27. Adam M. says:

    Raid Italy of their 30+ year olds: Crespo, Lucio, Zanetti, Pirlo, Seedorf, Gattuso, Zambrotta, etc. Plenty to go around.

  28. gigi says:

    I could see lampard signing this year, but i can also see the likes of Hleb coming here as well. What about berbatov? is he available? He’s an awesome poacher, wouldnt mind seeing him here either.

  29. 99 says:

    too late.

  30. AmigoEnergy says:

    Drogba by far! If he stayed healthy he would destroy the goal scoring record which would be great for Sportscenter and sponsorships.

  31. ko'd says:

    Well played.

  32. broadsthooligans says:

    Didn’t Forlan go to the Rapids last year?

  33. A wise man once says:

    Wrong Forlan.

  34. coop says:

    Giovani Dos Santos. MLS is far more likely to get him than Drogba or Lampard (the only two from the choices worth going after IMO.

  35. Creige says:

    Guissepe Rossi. Someday.

  36. At first blush it might look that way but comparing Giggs and Lampard is like apples and oranges. Giggs is a lifer at United – never having made a senior appearance for another Premier League club. And while Lampard is a legend at Chelsea, he spent six years at West Ham as well. Plus, United are owned by the Glazer family, who have proven themselves to value dedication (Giggs, Scholes, Gary Neville) much more than Roman Abramovich.

    I think Lampard eventually gets pushed out of Stamford Bridge.

    link to thesecondball.blogspot.com

  37. djs says:

    I’d love to see more teams make DP investments in South Americans like Alvaro Fernandez or Guillermo Barros Schelotto who might not be household names but who would provide commitment to the side and classy on-field play for championship-caliber squads.

  38. Rabid RBNY says:

    I think Drogba to Chicago would do wonders for the League. I hope the Fire open up their wallets

  39. biff says:

    Is it maybe not time for MLS to quit throwing millions at aging Designated Players from overseas and instead invest more time and effort into trying to bring in good players who are still in their prime or bring in young players who have not yet proved themselves but have the potential to develop into great players. Maybe in years past an argument could be made to pay the old stars big money to play in empty US stadiums in an effort to sell tickets. But those days are gone, times have changed. The whole DP system strikes me as a very bad business model.

  40. tim says:


  41. Elliot says:

    I honestly think that with the exception of Guti, any of these players would instantly be the best player ever in the MLS. Drogba is stil starting for Chelsea, imagine what he would do to MLS defenders.

  42. Elliot says:

    Plus, these guys are going to go where the money is if they leave their respective leagues, and right now that’s Asia, not the US.

  43. tim says:


    well done!


  44. adam says:

    who won MLS cup this year? old journey men…

  45. Shane says:

    No thank you. Too much diving, begging, complaining and cheating in general.

  46. EastBayGrease says:

    All DP signings should have to go through a quality check that consists only of a review by Sigi Schmid.

    (Ruiz, Schelloto, Montero… name a better cost-benefit signing?)

  47. Will says:

    i think we’d see a 20 assist season out of Guti

  48. radams74 says:

    Drogba to Houston…2011 MLS Cup finalist…new stadium opening in 2012…a lot of upside.

  49. george3000 says:

    Never been a fan of Guti. Seems like a total prima donna (not that a lot of the other names being thrown around don’t share a tad of that same quality).

    He’s also not a big enough name. He was a squad player on some good Real teams that the casual fan in this country might not even know existed.

  50. JJ says:

    Raul’s contract expire this summer, he’d be a good Beckham replacement for LA. Sol Campbell, HernĂ¡n Crespo, Eddie Johnson, Marcus Hahnemann, would be a good adds to MLS.

    Though would be nice for MLS to change DP ruling, capping the total salaries of DP’s to say $10m per team rather then limited DP’s. Then teams could sign say 5 DP’s on $2m rather then 2 DP’s on $5m. Just saying NYRB could have much better team that way, and MLS wouldn’t have the lopsided talent pool.

  51. JoeW says:

    I think the problem is this: most European players don’t know much about America. The two cities with the most glitz in terms of getting on the covers of fashion magazines, big social events, and entertainment are LA and NYC. And so you get players thinking “yeah, I’ll go into semi-retirement, start dating a supermodel, maybe get into the movies…yeah, that’s the ticket.” It’s kind of like most Americans (unless they’ve traveled in Europe or have Italian heritage) think that the best places to be in Italy are Rome and Milan (in terms of happening cities) or people outside of Russia think that Moscow and St. Petersburg are the only places worth mentioning in that country.

  52. A US Casua says:

    Look as much as you want to say guys like Drogba, Lampard, etc.. would want to come to the MLS and play its not that far fetched, but these guys don’t want to go to Columbus, Portland, Salt Lake, etc…. They want to go to places that they’ve heard of, traveled to, etc.. this means LA and NY for the most part. Not too mention these are the 2 most well known clubs. You can say what you want, but your more likely to run across someone overseas who knows Galaxy and Red Bull long before you run across a guy who know Real Salt Lake or Sporting Kansas City.. just saying.. Folks who say the Timbers should attract a big name DP forget about it..

  53. JoeW says:

    I agree that Drogba can still play at a high level. I’m not so sure he would destroy most MLS center backs.

    First, he wouldn’t get the service he’s used to. Second, he’d be outraged at the referring. Third, MLS is a pretty physical league, it’s not like Drogba going to Spain or France where he’d be a man among boys. He’d be faster and as strong and as tall (or taller) as most MLS CB’s. But MLS plays pretty physical soccer and most foreign players (including those coming from England) say it’s an adjustment to how physical it is.

  54. Rlw2020 says:

    How about bbocanegra, gooch, dos santos, vela, dmb and dolo

  55. JoeW says:

    Forlan is a great choice (and I’m not a big Forlan fan). Here’s why: in MLS, the DP can’t afford to be a great player surrounded by a bunch of pretty good players (like Henry was with Arsenal in his prime). Instead, you need to build the team around him. He needs to be a guy who can put the team on his shoulders at times-the “go to” guy. LA and Beckham was an exception this year b/c of the number of DPs and the quality of the roster.

    Forlan is a guy who–on a solid but not great Uruguay–showed that he can truly be the guy who everyone knows is going to get the ball, everyone knows you’re counting on him to make the big play, everyone knows he can’t afford to show up sick or off his game. In short, he’s shown that he’s capable of being a guy you can build a team around (or to use Bob Gansler’s phrase: a piano player surrounded by a bunch of piano movers).

  56. fischy says:

    I didn’t vote for Drogba, because I believe that’s sheer fantasy. Not gonna happen. If Anelka didn’t come here, with his brother’s ties here, Drogba isn’t coming either. There’s way too much money waiting for him somewhere else.

    I voted for Ballack, because I’m convinced he wants to come here. The question there is simply which team or teams would he accept, and which teams will make an acceptable bid.

    I also think Seedorf would like to come here, but I also think he’d be just as content to finish up in Europe at a high level. It’s a matter of timing with him.

    Also, I hold out hope that both of these guys would be willing to play for DC United. I don’t think the other guys on the list would.

  57. DanTheMan says:

    None. MLS isn’t a retirement league.

  58. Ben says:

    Best two clubs had two different approaches to DPs. LAG with the older well known stars, Seattle with the younger DPs. Yes, the Sounders didn’t make a good run in the playoffs, but it doesn’t help that the second place team overall gets seeded with the third place team overall in the same bracket as the first place team overall. It was pretty much a guarantee the best teams would not meet in the MLS Cup final.

  59. away goals says:

    Please tell me you voted for drogba then…

  60. fischy says:

    We should only be so lucky. Not a retirement league, but a place for those looking for a new challenge before they have to hang ’em up. More players like Beckham, Blanco, and Henry — players who raise the level of play in MLS? I’ll take ’em all in a New York minute.

  61. fischy says:


  62. Jack says:

    I’m stunned Ballack isn’t get more love. Like Beckham, he helps control midfield but just as importantly he can be a lethal set piece taker. Beckham and Brad Davis proved how valuable that skill can be this year.

  63. Adam M. says:

    True, but some of these guys are playing pretty well for top European teams right now. These aren’t “name” players lapping up crumbs from the bottom of the table second-tier leagues or second division teams. Absent health issues, there is no reason why a modern soccer player can’t remain in top form through their mid-to-late 30s. If MLS gets a few years in that range, then great.

  64. DangSkippy says:

    I understand your point. I, perhaps naively, believe that some former stars coming to MLS are prepared give it everything that they have left.
    As for someone like Ballack who came right out and said that MLS is for retirement – well, he can go play in China or Doha.

  65. Rocco says:

    I’m in for Raul – sure, he may have lost a step, but I think he’s a fairly household name for those that are any bit knowledgeable about soccer, and I don’t think he has too much left in the tank for top-level football, which would make him a great player for MLS, particularly for a young team to learn professionalism and what the job is all about…all while selling shirts and merch.

  66. Robin says:


  67. Colin says:

    DPs are usually one player, so I don’t think Tottenham would be a good choice as a DP.

  68. dj says:

    If we’re going to shoot for the moon, then I’ll shoot for the moon.


  69. Colin says:

    I think the MLS has a “No Ruud Policy” in place, ever since that other Ruud left LA…

  70. Gnarls says:

    Too bad French-speaking North America is colder than a witch’s nip.

  71. Gnarls says:

    Yeah, yeah, that’s a criticism we all have.

  72. Gnarls says:

    I’ll second that. Do our votes count?

  73. Gnarls says:

    Except that it’s Houston.

  74. Gnarls says:

    You missed the moon and hit Neptune.

  75. Tomas says:

    Yes, I’ll buy that for uneducated Euro footballers. They live a fairly insular existence. However, for the average European, they know a lot about the US. To wit, if you go to any National Park in the US in the summer you’re gonna run into enough Euros to get a little kick-about going practically anytime.

  76. sciroccer says:

    I feel the same way.

  77. fischy says:

    When did he say that? All the stories I’ve seen lately suggest he wants to come to MLS so he can play another couple of years, at least — instead of retiring.

  78. sciroccer says:

    I think everyone that believes Drogba,and Lampard are coming here now isn’t looking at it from the players perspective. These guys can still play, and don’t have anything past soccer to lure them here. No model girlfriend, or Tom Cruise. They don’t want to live in Denver, Kansas City, or anywhere outside of NY, and LA. If they have the option (which they will) to play in Japan, or France, etc. They will take it just to be in a higher profile league. They’ll get the money no matter where they go, and I would bet other countries can pay more also. I think Lamp’s stays in the EPL at home with his dad til he retires completly.

  79. SMP_PDX says:

    I would love to see Drogba, of those listed above. That said, I’d wager money on it NOT happening within the next year or two, if ever. He’s able to play at the top level still. Plus, I cannot see us offering up enough money to compete with what they can make at the top level, or as we just saw with Anelka, in A$ia

  80. SMP_PDX says:

    Maybe I should have read before posting. Sciroccer said it better!

  81. sciroccer says:

    PLUS- I think the younger DP thing is to encourage teams away from the “retirement DP” mentality”. Some of these guys just arent worth the $$$ at this point. Everyone knows Beckham and Henry, but the kids in my daughters Jr. High school won’t race out and buy a Keane, Raul, or Lampard jersey like they did for Beckham. They just arent known outside of soccer fans, thus the jersey’s don’t sale to recoup the cost.

  82. sciroccer says:

    Either way-we agree!

  83. Jo says:

    That’s what they say about every big name that comes…there is always an adjustment period….even for the likes of Beckham and Henry

  84. JJ says:

    I can’t understand why MLS doesn’t try and get more loan signings, there’s lots of European based players who only get 10-15 games a season. Surely MLS could start to try and sign these players for 2-3 month loan June-Aug/Sep, just like Euro teams get MLS players Jan-Mar. Players like Benayoun, Chamakh, Ireland, Ferreira, Kalou, Maxi Rodriguez, Macheda, Pienaar, Giovani…

  85. Henry says:

    +1, but switch Drogba and Lampard

  86. Bob says:


    Our youngsters benefit from having them around.

  87. DingDong says:

    Umm, people in Russia also think that Moscow and St. Petersburg are the only places worth mentioning in that country. I mean, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg or Rostov-on-Don are really very, very distant third place cities. Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, Montreal and Seattle are nowhere near that bad.

  88. Angel of LA says:

    RONALDINHO TO LA Galaxy remember he was almost on the move to LA, Diego Forlan to Seattle, Del Piero to RedBull, Montreal Get Ballack, Chivas USA another Mexican (Ramon Morales), Seedorf to KC Sporting, Lampart to Phyllis. Maybe Be bend the rules again for my belove it Galaxy Guti.

  89. Hi says:

    Yeah all of Lakewood, NJ would be thrilled…

  90. JJ says:

    Moneywise MLS wouldn’t have to recoup the cost of salary through merchandise sales if they bring in younger DP’s with an eye to sell-on later.

    MLS is best set out of the leagues in China, Japan, Russia, Middle-East to attract South American players due to its location and culture (Hispanic culture/TV etc). But if the players are interested in $$$ they’re gonna head to China/M.E.

    However LA Galaxy just signed a 10 year $55m TV deal a little way to go till they match the like of LA Angels $3 Billion Over 20 Years. Though MLS was paying to be on TV just a few years ago.

    MLS needs to rework it schedule, break for World Cups and should move Play-offs out of the most congested sports months in Oct/Nov to July/Aug. Attracting fans from other sports as well as close season European fans.

  91. Soccer Fan says:

    MLS needs to go to 4 DP’s…Teams like LA, NY, Seattle will definitely take advantage and other teams will be forced to bring up their quality of play.

  92. Cotto says:

    Guti fits in perfectly into the middle for SKC, I hope they have their eye on him.

  93. Monty says:

    They played attacking football that was fun to watch, I hope more Ruud’s come.

  94. pd says:

    I want to see Gattuso play for the NY… Giants.

  95. Pues says:

    Toronto doesnt need Seedorf. A team like Philly could really use him.

  96. Pitta says:

    No, the DP model has been the strength of the league for the past 6 years. There has to be a mix, but 4 DP’s and the level of the league will jump once again.

  97. Liver says:

    There is less competition for teams like Chelsea in their league. The parity in this league makes it tough to come and dominate. Ask Beckham, Henry, etc.

  98. Vic says:

    Lot of players would love to play for Portland and their fans…they will get a big name DP.

  99. Tyl says:

    Netymar is going nowhere. Santos locked him up. Robinho isnt a bad idea though.

  100. Don says:

    Kaka to LA if Beckham leaves

  101. Marc says:

    Ronaldinho is rotting away in Brazil…Give him a call!

  102. Scott says:


  103. gigi says:

    Ronaldinho’s contract doesnt end till 2014……and hes having an awesome year in brazil.

  104. gigi says:

    that wold be amazing for the league, doubt it will happen.

  105. span16 says:

    crappy MLS forwards don’t deserve the service Pirlo could provide. No one has mentioned Seedorf enough. He is the lowest profile guy in the bunch but if you watch AC Milan…he is ageless and still a big contributor.

  106. sodak_in_nyc says:

    What about Roy Keane to Manage Red Bull?

  107. sodak_in_nyc says:

    I agree with all of your points…this is a great choice and more realistic than those on the survey. Plus since he lived in Manchester, every MLS town will seem like Paris.

    Another broader point is that footballers get anonymity here. Going out to dinner and not being recognized and pestered is a huge plus. The F1 drivers love NYC for this reason. Despite Posh’s best efforts (3 SUV entourage)…I’m sure LA was much easier for them.

  108. sodak_in_nyc says:

    What’s Ballack’s relationship with klinsman? Perhaps he could play in LA and transition to some coaching role for USA?

  109. is there anyone older than delpiero????
    i mean why dont they ask pele to play
    also guti will be a nice backup for dax mccarty

  110. sodak_in_nyc says:

    What about releasing Gio dos Santos from North London purgatory? He’ll probably end up at one of the Southern European Leagues and of course he is 10 years younger than the usual age to come here but hopefully you see the logic?

  111. Chad Ocho Cinco says:

    How about me?

  112. Travis says:

    NY hasn’t truly mattered in the MLS for more than a couple of years.

  113. Lorenzo says:

    Well not all players are from urban backgrounds. Like schelotto to Columbus, he was actually from quieter background, not the bustling city.

  114. Lonelyinsf says:

    Why do people keep mentioning San Francisco? I live in SF and last I checked we don’t have a team. And don’t give me that two-bit operation down in San Jose. While SF would indeed be a great cosmopolitan MLS city that a lot of Europeans would love, that’s certainly not true of San Jose.

  115. getrealtime19 says:

    Yeah Id much rather see adam christsmn playing forward overthe Drogba

  116. Joamiq says:

    Ha! “Usually”, nice :)

  117. Geoff says:


  118. sammysounder74 says:


  119. Shane says:

    Gnarls lives in a van down by the river. Showcasing some of his angst over all the freedom they enjoy down there in Texas

  120. Jah says:

    Seedorf and SSFC ..


  121. DingDong says:

    Yeah, I know. I also lived in SF (until three months ago when I moved) but I think the idea is you could sell a star on living in San Francisco with only a 45-minute drive to the stadium. That said, I never liked San Jose and never had any desire to go see their dumb hockey or soccer teams. I understand why they didn’t put a team in SFC (expensive), but I don’t know why they couldn’t have gone with Oakland.

  122. JCC says:

    Apparently the same club that got Anelka, Shanghai Shenhua, is also making a move for Drogba. And they’re trying to get Jean Tigana to manage the club. Those guys are getting serious over there in China, and they got the money to do it.

  123. Jose says:

    Please if it is going to be a DP, let’s get younger guys. This will help the league grow and the players grow as well.

  124. ripsaa says:

    Plus Forlan has expressed interest in MLS in the past.