New England Revolution showing ambition in new deal for Carles Gil

New England Revolution hard coach Bruce Arena with midfielder Carles Gil. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
New England Revolution hard coach Bruce Arena with midfielder Carles Gil. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

That the New England Revolution re-signed Carles Gil isn’t of itself anything special. That they made him one of the highest paid players in MLS is, in and of itself, a sign of purpose from a club that has only given lip service to being ambitious for much of their existence.

Gil, one of the premier midfielders in MLS, has signed a deal that will keep him in Foxboro until 2024. In seven games this season, Gil has a goal and four assists and is a clear frontrunner at this stage for MLS MVP. He is the key to the New England Revolution and their success this season.

There might be bigger names in the MVP race, but few (if any) have had the impact on their team as Gil. And yes that includes Chicharito.

But beyond the stats, which are impressive, the Revolution’s deal with Gil makes him one of the 10 highest paid players in MLS. For years, the Revolution have been a cost-cutting team, one that borders on stingy.

More from MLS Multiplex

Now, they’re not just playing with the big boys. They’re spending like a club that wants to lift a trophy by season’s end. Maybe two.

(The New England Revolution are 4-1-2, 14 points on the year, sitting atop the Eastern Conference and second in the Supporters Shield race).

A new deal for Gil makes sense given his caliber of play. It also signals a new era for a New England Revolutions team that is making investments and forming a legitimate identity under head coach Bruce Arena and a solidly under-appreciated sporting director in Curt Onalfo.

Rewind two years ago before Arena and Onalfo took the reigns of this club. The Revolution weren’t a poor side by any stretch but they were outdated and built on a budget. They were very much an MLS 2.0 team, built around a couple of star players and the rest of the Starting XI filled with yeoman-like Americans, long on effort but short on skill.

Retaining Gil by the New England Revolution is a big recruiting coup by Arena as well as Onalfo. Getting a player like Gil, with substantial experience in La Liga as well as the English Premier League is one thing, as was done three years ago when he was first brought to MLS.

Convincing such a player in the first place, still in his prime and producing at a high level, to not only stay in MLS but extend his time in Foxboro is a statement of intent from the Revolution.

This isn’t your mother’s New England Revolution, a side merely content to invest the bare minimum and claw into playoff position. This is a side with ambition and the Revolution have to be considered Supporters Shield favorites at this point.

In keeping Gil for another three, full seasons, the Revolution are clearly all in on what Arena and Onalfo are building. In turn, they have in Gil a player who is being paid at the level he is producing.

All told in 47 career matches in MLS since coming to the league in 2019, Gil has 11 goals and 20 assists. He has patience on the ball and the ability to create opportunities and chances on the dribble but also with passes that cut through the lines.

He’s a prototypical midfielder in a league where creativity and playmaking are at a premium.

The Revolution have built a team with depth and an understanding of how Arena wants them to play. In Gil, they finally have a player worthy of a long-suffering fanbase, jaded by years of neglect with a team that is ready to step forward and become MLS Cup contenders.

Neglected, it appears, no more.

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex’ on Twitter @KristianRDyer