It's back. The first day of the new year has barely had a chance to reach its end and we've already seen the return of an old rumor: Steven Gerrard is on his way to MLS.
You will recall this rumor got a lot of play in December, when it appeared largely to be in the service of Stevie G's efforts to secure one last preferential contract with the only football club he's ever known: Liverpool FC.
Now it is returned with the suggestion that contract isn't going to happen and Gerrard is taking off for the bright lights of a big American city. No, not New York; Los Angeles is allegedly his favored destination.
This is still very much a rumor, though it has some support from the fact that a) we've been hearing Gerrard-to-MLS whispers for a while and b) the New York Red Bulls were quick to deny he was heading anywhere near Harrison as soon as someone bothered to ask them directly.
For now, what we have is a suggestion that appears to have originated with Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio: LA Galaxy has offered Gerrard something to do with his time once his contract expires with Liverpool in the summer of 2015.
The story has since been given a vigorous shaking by The Daily Mail, The Mirror, and The Express. They represent the more excitable end of the spectrum of (generally fairly excitable) British sports reporting, so no reason to consider this an absolute certainty. Indeed the Express, which has awarded itself an "exclusive" on the story, suggests no decision has been taken by Gerrard beyond not signing an extended contract with Liverpool - i.e. he hasn't committed to LA or any other destination.
The Mail has said Gerrard will make a public statement on Friday (but only one which will say he isn't signing a new contract for his current club), which at least means we won't have to wait long for at least the "he's not staying at Liverpool" part of this rumor to be confirmed.
As for LA Galaxy, NBC's Pro Soccer Talk points out Gerrard wasn't too complimentary about the team when it was suggested Frank Lampard had snubbed MLS's seemingly perennial champ back in 2013.
Why respected English midfielders feel the need to move to only those MLS teams or cities they have specifically insulted (Hi Frank, how's Manchester?) is a question that one hopes is put to Gerrard alongside the multitude of others heading his way in the near future.
In the meantime, the Brit press is steadily advancing the story.
BREAKING NEWS: Liverpool are refusing to comment on reports Steven Gerrard is in talks with LA Galaxy. More on #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/C2BYHIleCr— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) January 1, 2015
The BBC is also reporting Gerrard won't be returning to Liverpool, and former teammate Jamie Carragher has all but confirmed the news on Twitter.
Sad day for Lfc & English football with the Gerrard news, I think it's the right decision all things considered.— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) January 1, 2015
More news, probably of increasingly less relevance to RBNY, on this to come.
EDIT: Official statements from Gerrard and Liverpool have confirmed that he will be leaving the club at the end of his contract in the summer. The rumors regarding his next employer will now start in earnest.
#LFC can confirm that Steven Gerrard is to leave the club at the end of the 2014-15 season #LFCicon pic.twitter.com/an6AjmFgvE— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 2, 2015