MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Exclusive: John Thorrington previews LAFC's summer, has already received transfer offers for "multiple players"

John Thorrington - solo - LAFC - Los Angeles Football Club

John Thorrington's phone buzzes often. 

LAFC's executive vice president of soccer operations and general manager only got back to Los Angeles from the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando very recently, but there's rarely respite. Such is the life of an MLS general manager, particularly one overseeing so many players gathering interest from abroad, heading into the busy global summer transfer window now that most European leagues have belatedly wrapped up their 2019-20 seasons.

With clubs mapping out their summer spending and roster needs, LAFC are a busy destination and Thorrington's number is one dialed often. 

“Yes, there have been concrete [transfer] offers for multiple players," Thorrington told in a phone interview on Thursday. He was unable to delve any further into specifics, but there are plenty of options to speculate.

Diego Rossi did nothing but inflate his value in Orlando, lighting up the tournament with seven goals in five matches. He's long been on the radar of clubs due to his exploits over the last two and a half seasons since arriving at LAFC. Then there's 2019 MLS Best XI midfielder Eduard Atuesta, Uruguayan international winger Brian Rodriguez, Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye, midfield dynamo Latif Blessing and Colombian center back Eddie Segura to name just a handful, without mentioning the club's three additional representatives at the 2019 U-20 World Cup. 

One caveat? It's not the best market for clubs to be selling in. With the financial dominoes toppling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is simply less money changing hands.

“We evaluate everything in context, we take each offer on a case-by-case basis," Thorrington said. "Whatever level of discount there is right now, we evaluate offers slightly differently. That’s the sensible thing to do, but that does not mean we’re going to shortchange an asset we have.”

LAFC are not in a position where they are feeling financial pressure to sell. While not unaffected by the pandemic, they are stable.

The knock-on effect is that head coach Bob Bradley may not lose regular members of the squad just yet, as they chase MLS Cup yet again after bowing out of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference Championship in 2019. 

“The timeline of that has been affected by this market, it remains to see what that means," Thorrington said. "But we’re certainly happy to continue to have that young talent. I’m grateful we’re not in a situation like some other clubs who need to sell assets out of desperation. We’re not looking at a firesale of our players and the benefit of that, we might be keeping some of these players longer than we would have. That’s not the worst problem. There’s still interest, there are still calls but we will not sell any of our valuable players out of desperation. We will do it when the economics make sense and the opportunity is right for the player.”

If those criteria are met, then LAFC will be ready to pounce with additions in the transfer market as well. Crediting the club's robust scouting department, the front office have an ever-changing shortlist to make the most of whatever funds, cap space and roster designations open up.

Thorrington also said the club are "actively seeking" a few improvements, though with the work they did last summer (Rodriguez, Diego Palacios) and this season (Jose Cifuentes, Francisco Ginella, Kenneth VermeerBradley Wright-Phillips and Andy Najar), the club don't have a ton of needs or great flexibility without outgoing transfers. Still a club that broke records aplenty en route to last season's Supporters' Shield crown are never satisfied.

It shapes up to be another busy summer for LAFC.

“It’s a transfer window unlike any other," Thorrington said. "There’s no roadmap for this fluid situation."