ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — The LA Galaxy have continued their offseason reload by landing Marseille attacker Romain Alessandrini, leaving stateside fans to wonder what he can accomplish in MLS.
As usual, we're here to help by breaking down what to expect from the Galaxy's latest Designated Player signing.
Who is he?
Alessandrini is a 27-year-old hybrid winger who is loaded with technique and talent. Though left-footed, he is very capable with both legs. A standout with previous clubs, the Marseille native has suffered some bad luck since joining his hometown team in the summer of 2014.
After six years developing in the Olympique Marseille youth setup, Alessandrini joined third-flight Gueugnon at the age of 16. After a few more years of academy growth, he debuted for their first team in 2008.
Two years later, he made the switch to Clermont, where he earned consecutive Ligue 2 Team of the Year nods. After that, Alessandrini moved to top-flight Rennes. He shined there for two seasons, earning his Marseille return. The attacker has twice been in line to make his French national team debut, but his call-up was derailed by injury each time.
There really isn't any single type of play that's beyond him, which means you never quite know what he'll do at any given moment.
Alessandrini has excellent speed on the ball and loves to spring quick counters from turnovers in the opponents' end. He's as comfortable shipping an expert through ball as he is pulling the trigger from 25 yards out. He curls the ball extremely well, ably using this talent for accurate shots or to pick out a teammate obscured by a defender with a pinpoint cross.
Upon his arrival in LA, he also instantly becomes one of the best free-kick artists in MLS.
First and foremost, Alessandrini needs to get back to being regularly available. A variety of ankle and foot injuries have put him on the shelf for 19 league games over the past 16 months, and red-card suspensions have cost him another four.
His goal and assist rates at Marseille were actually similar to his career averages; he just needs to play more.
It really depends on how the Galaxy prefer him to play. While equally at home on either wing, Alessandrini is a bit more likely to come inside to fire when stationed on the right wing. On the left wing, he slightly tilts toward playmaking from the flank, and he gets more of his goals as a back-post runner or by following up on rebounds.
If he can stay fit and make the Galaxy lineup on a consistent basis, notching 10 goals and a half-dozen assists is easily within his capabilities. At his best, he's a serious Best XI threat.