LA Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese confirmed on Tuesday that the club are working to sign Costa Rican international Giancarlo Gonzalez from Italian club Bologna, telling MLSsoccer.com that he's hopeful the club will land the 31-year-old center back before the primary transfer window closes on May 7.
Because he was sold by the Columbus Crew to Italian club Palermo in 2014 for a transfer fee greater than $500,000, Gonzalez is subject to the MLS Allocation Process. The Galaxy are currently 11th in the league’s allocation ranking order. They’d almost certainly have to trade up in the allocation ranking to avoid having another team claim Gonzalez should he sign with MLS.
Te Kloese indicated that the Galaxy are closer to agreeing to terms with Gonzalez and Bologna, who are chaired by Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo, than they are to finalizing a trade to move up in the allocation order. Toronto FC, Orlando City and the Colorado Rapids currently hold the first, second and third spots in the allocation order. Sources told MLSsoccer.com late last month that the No. 1 spot in the allocation ranking is valued at around $400,000 in allocation money.
“We hope so. We’ve been very busy and there’s a lot of work that goes into rules and regulations in MLS with being able to bring in a player like him or other players on the allocation list. We hope to and we trust we can make some progress in the coming days,” he said.
“I think we should be OK, but it’s always a work in progress,” he added later. “I understand the rules and respect the rules and, as you know, we don’t go around the rules, but it’s a little bit of a headache to have to go through so many hoops to bring in a player.”
LA have been linked to Gonzalez for over a month, but Tuesday marked the first time te Kloese has spoken publicly about the club’s pursuit of the two-time World Cup veteran. Gonzalez has made 12 appearances and eight starts this season for Bologna, who are two points out of the relegation zone with seven matches remaining. He captained the club in their 4-1 loss to Atalanta last Friday before moving to the bench for their 3-0 win against Chievo Verona on Monday. Prior to his start against Atalanta, Gonzalez hadn’t been in the Bologna XI since Feb. 10. He’s made 116 Serie A appearances since he left Columbus following the 2014 World Cup and has 71 career caps for Costa Rica.
Te Kloese also said that Gonzalez isn’t the only player who could join LA in the next couple of months. The first-year GM is also looking at several different options in the attack, some of whom could potentially join before the close of the primary window, others who couldn’t be signed until after the secondary window opens in July.
They have the space to make a decent splash. In addition to the budget space created by the sale of Ola Kamara and the buyout of Giovani dos Santos, the Galaxy acquired a second open international slot – one would go to Gonzalez, if signed – in a recent trade with New York City FC.
They also have the need. LA are dangerously thin behind star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has missed two of LA’s five games this year due to injury. With important midfielders Jonathan dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget likely to miss time this summer during the Concacaf Gold Cup and a host of midweek games on the schedule, te Kloese knows his team needs more depth up front.
“I would be the first one to hope that Zlatan is on the field every single minute,” said te Kloese. “Obviously he’s an incredible difference maker and a huge part of our project this year, but it’s a long season. We have Gold Cup coming in in the summer, we have Open Cup that we would like to take seriously, there’s a lot of travel, there’s midweek travel, so at some point we’re going to have to have some depth on different positions. We’re in a good position in that we can create it, but we just want to make the right decisions and don’t overrun things too easy.”