LA Galaxy's Bruce Arena not talking Sacha Kljestan rumors, says CB Opare dealt to get more minutes
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy might be bringing Sacha Kljestan home, but if so, they aren't about to discuss that yet.
The Galaxy this week sent second-year defender Kofi Opare and their second-round selection in next year's MLS SuperDraft to D.C. United in a deal to swap spots in the league's allocation order, jumping from 11th to third on the list.
SoccerByIves.net reported that Kljestan, a former Chivas USA standout who grew up in nearby Huntington Beach, was the reason for the move and that he will leave Belgian powerhouse RSC Anderlecht to join LA on a loan deal with a purchase option. The possibility was first raised by Belgian media in May.
Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena declined to comment on the rumors.
"I have no comments on any players that are affiliated with other clubs,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “I never have. When we've made a move, we will make it public. Nothing has been achieved at this point."
The transfer deadline is Aug. 6, so any deal not involving a free transfer must be completed by then.
Arena on Thursday acknowledged that the Galaxy also sought deals with Columbus and FC Dallas, who hold the top two spots on the allocation list.
"I don't make public how I go about doing our business, but, obviously, you talk to those teams; isn't that common sense?" Arena said.
He also suggested that Opare didn’t necessarily fill a need on their roster.
"Kofi's our fifth center back," Arena said. "So, you know, you generally don't need five center backs."
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Arena ranked Opare, who partnered Omar Gonzalez in central defense for the final month of last season plus the playoff series with Real Salt Lake, behind Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo and Tommy Meyer and ahead of rookie Kyle Venter, who has spent most of the season with Galaxy II, LA's USL PRO-based reserve team.
"I think Kofi's going to be a good player," Arena said. "I think it'll be a good move for him."
Landon Donovan agreed.
"Kofi's been great, and we all like Kofi. We're sad to see him go," the veteran attacker said. "But at the end of the day, he's probably going to have more of a chance to play in D.C., and Bruce is very good about doing what's right for the club, but also what's right for a player.
"And he wouldn't send Kofi somewhere where they have four solidified center backs that were always going to play. [He'll] send him somewhere where he's going to have a chance to play, and that's why Bruce is so well-respected around the league."
Donovan was asked about the prospect of Kljestan, who has made 46 appearances with the US national team, joining the Galaxy.
"I'd like to see a lot of players coming in, but our team is very good – as we showed [in a 3-0 win at Seattle on Monday] – with or without additional players," he said. "We'll let those guys make those decisions."