Why the LA Gunners rumor is (probably) entirely made up

Shaun Botterill

You probably shouldn't get your Los Angeles Arsenal gear ready just yet.

The last couple days, a "report" out of England claimed that Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke was looking to put a new team in Los Angeles to be a wing of the Arsenal empire, by calling them the "LA Gunners," and partnering with the London club. The Sun originated the story, and was picked up by Metro, where it then spread like wildfire around the world.

Look, it's not hard to say this story seems very highly unlikely to happen. First and foremost, LA currently have two MLS clubs, and with one of those currently struggling, adding a third makes no sense. Also, Kroenke owns an MLS team already, the Colorado Rapids, and that club has had virtually no public relationship with Arsenal.

This rumor screams random rumor-mongering out of the British tabloid press. Come on now.

Look, the parts can be put together, absolutely. Here's what is definitely true: Kroenke owns Arsenal. He's already involved in MLS. He also owns the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets, and the St. Louis Rams. His wife comes from the Walton family, of Wal-Mart fame.

He recently bought land in LA, 60 acres. The LA Times reported on that purchase last week and speculated that he could move the Rams back to LA. Alternately, it has been argued that the link between the land and the Rams is that Kroenke will use it as leverage with St. Louis in figuring out that team's future beyond this year.

Then the Sun came out with the "LA Gunners" report.

From there, of course, MLS fans have speculated that this means the future of Chivas USA is in doubt. The thinking goes that since Chivas is struggling mightily, it will either be sold to Kroenke, or maybe the team will be moved to another city.

I'm calling bs on this. Kroenke is widely known as a private guy. He basically never speaks to the press. That doesn't mean that he isn't furiously working on some or all of these plans behind the scenes, but nothing in his track record indicates something as ambitious as this "LA Gunners" plan.

Seriously, both the report about the Rams returning to LA based on the land purchase and the Gunners MLS team are pure speculation. People are trying to connect the dots.

So count me as someone who just doesn't think this story has legs, and therefore won't affect Chivas USA at all at this point.

However, caveat time. MLS owners are able to own more than one team at a time, as AEG and the Hunt family once owned like half the teams in the league. So Kroenke could keep the Rapids and get another team, at least theoretically.

Additionally, despite the perceived demerits of our Goats using the Chivas brand that belongs to a foreign team, from all appearances new MLS expansion club New York City FC looks like it will follow many of the branding attributes of parent club Manchester City. So the league is not averse to teams modeling themselves on other brands, as a principle.

And Chivas have had their fair share of problems, especially since Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes bought the club outright. Until the club turns around and/or the team is sold, the speculation that Chivas USA is going to be moved or folded will continue. Even if the stories are completely fanciful, people will latch onto them, sometimes out of wishful thinking more than anything else.

But I'll leave you with this thought: although there have been reports that Chivas USA has been for sale as recently as last year, Vergara has repeatedly said he is not selling the team. Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy was very publicly put up for sale by AEG. They subsequently said they took the club off the market, but perhaps they are just waiting for the right buyer.

Maybe Kroenke is looking to buy an LA team, just not Chivas USA.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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