Garth Lagerwey wants to set the record straight. He is not, by any means, trying to stoke a “Seattle Sounders pursue Lionel Messi’ narrative, but the club’s president and general manager wouldn’t be surprised to see the global icon land in Major League Soccer sometime soon.
“Big dreams are good, Jackson. I actually don't rule out that Messi comes and plays in MLS at some point, whether that's for the Sounders or somebody else,” Lagerwey said on “Sounders Weekly with Jackson Felts" on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle. “It is the kind of player that I think would have broad appeal and that people in MLS and people in the United States would have a lot of fun watching. So whether it's us or whether it's somebody else, you know as crazy as it might seem on its face, I wouldn't rule out something like that happening in the next 12-24 months, so let's see how it goes.”
While Lagerwey said he doesn’t think Messi’s potential arrival would trump the historic signing of David Beckham by the LA Galaxy 13 years ago because of the transformational nature of the league in terms of pop culture relevance, Lagerwey said players like Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney in recent years certainly tick the “commercial appeal” box.
That’s not been of the utmost importance for the Sounders through the years, but Messi would not just be an elite player, but also one with tremendous worldwide recognition and popularity.
“Typically for the Sounders, we’ve erred on the side more of who’s the best possible soccer player we can get as opposed to who delivers the most commercial value, but when you look at guys like Messi and stuff, they’re probably doing both,” Lagerwey said. "A really intriguing prospect for the league. Again, we have three DPs right now, we like them all. I don’t want this to head down the path of ‘Sounders pursue Messi,’ but certainly if he were to play in MLS, that would be something we’d be excited about.”