But when LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington confirmed that Vela would stay, it came on a day when the club also confirmed Gareth Bale would be joining the soon-to-arrive Giorgio Chiellini on a league-leading squad getting what is expected to be a major midseason upgrade.
Vela himself confirmed the news before Sunday's 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, in which he fed Cristian Arango an assist on what would be both the opening and match-winning goal. In an ESPN interview, he said, "It was a matter of time," regarding the contract renewal.
He added, "I don't want to leave until I win a title. Hopefully this year."
Thorrington characterized the news on Sunday as "thematically [speaking] to the interest of these players who still have a lot to give to a club, to a team, to a city, and they have noticed what this club has done in our short history."
Vela, of course, has been more involved with the Black & Gold than its two newest international players, starting with LAFC during their inaugural 2018 season, making 101 appearances and scoring 63 goals to date — including 34 in a record-setting 2019 to cement his status as one of the best players in MLS's modern era.
"Carlos and LAFC have had and continue to have a phenomenal relationship," Thorrington emphasized on Sunday. In what appeared to be an oblique reference to concerns as to whether he would recommit to LAFC, he noted, "I think things that get released, snippets here and there, don't entirely illustrate the picture of our relationship from day one."
He also broadly hinted that bringing Bale and Chiellini to LAFC had a role in convincing Vela to re-up, adding, "Carlos has been the best player in the league when he's healthy, certainly a phenomenal player for LAFC, and I think for Carlos and his desire to win, he sees the importance of adding these pieces again to help with what we already have and then to add their quality and experience as well."
"We're very happy that he decided to stay, and it was very much expected that he was going to stay from our perspective," said LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo
In the post-match press conference, Vela's new teammate Ilie Sanchez reflected the excitement the players reportedly have for the two new legends coming into the fold — but the Spaniard also praised Vela as part of a potential MLS Cup-winning equation.
"[They're] world-class players that any team would like to have in their squads," Ilie remarked. "Very happy with the two additions; I think that they're gonna bring the difference on and off the field. And, again, also with the re-signing of Carlos, I think that we have three veteran players that can lead this team into bigger things at the end of the season."