MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Sources: LAFC, Carlos Vela remain in contract talks but no deal imminent

LAFC and star forward Carlos Vela remain in active contract talks but no deal is imminent, sources tell

Vela’s contract expires at the end of June, falling in the middle of the 2022 MLS season. Vela has been eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with any team abroad since Jan. 1, but remains in talks with LAFC.

The winger cannot sign with another MLS team on July 1 without that club acquiring his rights from LAFC as he does not currently qualify for MLS free agency. He will qualify for MLS free agency after the season, following the completion of his fifth season in the league.

Vela, 33, is off to a strong start to 2022 after two injury-plagued seasons from 2020-21. He has four goals and two assists this year, starting all five of LAFC’s matches under new manager Steve Cherundolo.

Vela's impact at LAFC

One of the league’s biggest stars since arriving ahead of LAFC’s inaugural season in 2018, Vela has experienced huge success in MLS.

Vela led the Black & Gold to win the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, setting a then-league record for points in a single season. He won the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award after delivering the greatest individual season in league history, with 34 goals and 15 assists in 31 matches. He currently holds the single-season record for goals, as well as goals plus assists.

Vela also led LAFC to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, where they fell to Liga MX's Tigres UANL. He has 61 goals and 37 assists in 91 career MLS regular-season appearances.

LAFC already have one Designated Player spot open, with Vela and Brian Rodriguez occupying two.

Other reports

Prior to joining LAFC, Vela starred for Real Sociedad in Spain, where his wife is from. It has been reported by TUDN’s Michele Giannone that Vela would be interested in a return to Spain, though nothing has materialized yet. ESPN's Taylor Twellman reported at the end of February that he expected an agreement on a new deal with LAFC to be reached soon.

On Saturday, Vela and LAFC face the LA Galaxy in this year’s first iteration of El Trafico (7:30 pm ET | FOX, FOX Deportes). With no injury concerns to note for either Vela or former Mexico international teammate Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, this is set to be the first time the stars face off in MLS.