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Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid stars on MLS franchise shortlist — reports

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Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

According to multiple reports, including the Telegraph and the Times, Fàbregas is one of several names among other top veteran footballers who have been identified to help launch an expansion franchise in Major League Soccer, Los Angeles FC. LAFC are set to start playing in 2018.

“Wayne Rooney is an example of the calibre of player we are looking to bring to LA FC. He is one of ten names we are looking at. We are still 18 months away from our first MLS game, so we will see if players of Rooney’s status and reputation are interested.”

-Tom Penn; LAFC part-owner; source: Times

Each MLS franchise is allowed three "designated players" whose wages can exceed the salary cap and wage structure set by the league. Current designated players include former Chelsea stars Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. (Incidentally, Ashley Cole, at LAFC’s soon-to-be local rivals LA Galaxy was not a designated player — he joined on a regular player’s salary).

"We are interested in a player or players who are passionate about becoming the first LAFC legend. The player our fans and organisation point to in a five to 10 years as a player who played a major role in growing LAFC to be the global brand we aspire to become."

"I knew there would be interest but I have been surprised at the level of player and coach who have already expressed interest in joining our amazing project."

-John Thorrington, LAFC executive vice-president; Source: ESPN FC

Wayne Rooney, whose current contract at Manchester United runs out quite conveniently in June 2018 may sit atop LAFC’s wishlist, but other names such as Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric or Chelsea’s own Cesc Fàbregas are already involved in the speculation as well.

Fàbregas will be 30 years old in March 2018 and still conceivably good enough for many top European clubs. It would be a major coup for Los Angeles FC to take him in two years, though he would certainly help them in achieving their ambitions early on. It’s hard to envision this move at the moment, though it should be noted that once upon a time, it was hard to envision Cesc Fàbregas becoming a key player at Chelsea. You never know in football; one thing’s for sure, LAFC will not be lacking for money!