Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes expects Jermain Defoe and Frank Lampard to leave the Premier League for MLS over the summer.
Tottenham striker Defoe has regularly been linked with Toronto FC and Chelsea midfielder Lampard is reportedly a target for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who have Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane on their current roster. Vermes believes more and more players will be tempted to take a look at moving to the United States as their biggest domestic league continues to grow, both in team numbers and popularity.
He recently coached Sporting KC to victory in the MLS Cup final when they came out on top in a tense penalty shoot-out 7-6 against Real Salt Lake – it was their second title, but first since 2000 when they were still known as the Kansas City Wizards.
"I see both of them coming. I think it’s going to happen. They are world-class players with great qualities that I think will only help enhance the league," Vermes told Sky Sports News. "Defoe, I think, is a done deal already but that’s just my opinion. Frank was linked last year and I think he stayed on because (Jose) Mourinho was coming back."
Vermes added: "There’s a good chance he makes the move to the Galaxy. Back in 2000 there was 10 teams in the league, now there are 19 with two more coming in a year from now in New York and Orlando. The game is growing tremendously well in the States and the popularity of the sport is making it relevant in the sports scene."
Vermes also hailed the contribution David Beckham made to the sport in his five years with the Galaxy, and he would love to have him back in the MLS if his project to start a franchise – most likely in Miami – becomes a reality. "(His impact) was enormous. Not only was he a great player on the field but the amount of work he did off the field, media wise, bringing attention to the game was fantastic," Vermes continued.
"I was amazed watching him, the way he was always available for different things, he was great. Florida is definitely a part of the country that there is a very strong soccer interest with the different ethnic backgrounds. I’m not going to be the one to doubt David. He’s figured out a way to be successful in everything he has done and I am sure this will just be another success story for him."