What you need to know

LAFC sign center back Chanot

LAFC have acquired center back Maxime Chanot from French second-division side AC Ajaccio and signed him through the 2025 MLS season. The 34-year-old Luxembourg international gives the Black & Gold another experienced center back alongside Aaron Long, Jesús Murillo and Eddie Segura. Chanot previously played with New York City FC from 2016-23.

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LAFC are doing LAFC things

Well, it had to happen sometime. LAFC have been operating with two open Designated Player spots since Carlos Vela’s contract expired this offseason. It always felt a bit like a Godzilla movie. Eventually, the monster will show up, even if he’s hanging out underwater for a while. They were going to make a big move eventually. Bringing Maxime Chanot back to MLS appears to be the first move in a big news cycle.

Per reporting from The Athletic’s Tom Bogert (and now numerous other non-Tom sources), LAFC are nearing a deal to sign France’s all-time leading goal scorer, Olivier Giroud. The deal isn’t finalized, but reports indicate an initial agreement has been reached. If it goes through, it’s the kind of major move we’ve come to expect from LAFC the last few years. It’s just not clear if it’s the right move or the only move.

Tom says the initial agreement has Giroud joining when the summer transfer window opens on July 18 and sticking around through 2025. If that’s the case, then Giroud likely won’t play his first MLS game until Aug. 24 due to Leagues Cup. That means he’ll have the potential to participate in nine of LAFC’s 34 regular season games this year.

That’s a risk for a team that has had issues in attack to start the year. They were in the middle of a three-match scoring drought before their five-goal outburst against a frazzled Nashville side last weekend. They’ve been playing midfielder Mateusz Bogusz as a false nine and, while he hasn’t been an active detriment to the team or anything, a more traditional No. 9 like Giroud is likely a better fit. Twenty-five games is a long time to wait for a key piece of your attack to arrive.

Then again, what if he’s not a key piece? There’s always a chance nine regular season games isn’t enough time to make an impact this season, and there’s always a chance travel and a continuous string of games through the summer wears him down a bit.

As with any proven star who joins MLS for the first time, there are some concerns on the surface. However… the thing we’ve learned about LAFC’s moves in the last few years is that it can be difficult to see the clear picture. Players who seem like they might take up DP spots end up on reduced deals. Major moves that feel like important components of the overall plan are discarded quickly if the player isn’t a fit. Sometimes they float through life without using a DP spot or two just because they want to.

Not all of those things are inherently good, but they do make moves like this hard to assess. Giroud could be one player in a string of events that lead to LAFC turning into a juggernaut by the end of the year. We’ve seen it before. And it worked out pretty well in 2022.

They haven’t had a proper No. 9 since Chicho Arango. Giroud should fill a void that’s been gone since LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup. He’s scored 14 times and delivered nine assists for AC Milan this season. That kind of production transposed onto MLS could be more than enough for LAFC to match their incredibly lofty standards.

Still, it’s fair to wonder how this turns out. If this is it for LAFC and there are no more signings behind the door, it may be difficult to consider them on par with the top teams in the East. The constant roster turnover, the issues in midfield, a potential regression from Dénis Bouanga, an inability to do anything but play against the ball, and all the other things that could derail this team aren’t going away because a big signing is on the way in late July. LAFC can clearly do enough to survive (and maybe more) in the West. But is this move going to be enough to earn a second MLS Cup in three years?

Other Things

CF Montréal sign midfielders Biello, Schiavoni: CF Montréal have signed Quebec midfielders Alessandro Biello and Matteo Schiavoni. Biello, 17, has penned a homegrown deal through the 2025 MLS season with options spanning from 2026-28. Schiavoni was acquired from Italian Serie A side Bologna, reaching a deal through the 2024 season with options spanning from 2025-27.

MLS NEXT Pro to Make History With AI-Driven, Multi-Language Broadcasts Next Week: MLS NEXT Pro announced it will play a regular season match at the 2024 Generation adidas Cup, the premier international youth soccer tournament hosted by Major League Soccer and MLS NEXT. Orlando City B and Inter Miami II will face off at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 2 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Fans around the world will be able to watch the match for free on MLSNEXTPro.com with the ability to choose from four different languages. In addition to the usual English broadcast, for the first time ever fans will also be able to hear an MLS NEXT Pro match in French, Spanish and Portuguese, through the power of artificial intelligence.

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