CARSON, Calif. – Los Angeles midfielder Juninho told FutbolMLS.com that he wants to be back in a Galaxy uniform in 2011.
He’s not the only one; Galaxy manager Bruce Arena also wants the 21-year-old to return.
The only piece left in the puzzle is a nod from Brazilian club São Paulo, who hold Juninho’s contractual rights after his loan deal to LA expires in December.
“I have a contract with São Paulo in Brazil,” Juninho told FutbolMLS.com on Friday. “This year, when I finish here, São Paulo and the Galaxy have to reach an agreement if I come back or I stay in Brazil. [The clubs] will know first, and then me.”
São Paulo officials have been on record earlier this year that they will be re-evaluating the loan deals for all three of their players – Juninho, Leonardo and Alex Cazumba – on loan at Los Angeles.
“It’s a big team and I like it here,” Juninho said of the Galaxy. “I would like very much to come back.”
Earlier in the week, Arena explained how he scouted all three players in Brazil before inviting them on a 10-day trial in the preseason. He sounded very positive about the club’s prospects of bringing them back
“We expect to have them back next year,” Arena said during a teleconference call this week. “We haven’t gotten into those discussions at this point yet, but they are three players we’d like to have back next year.
“They’re not only good players but good people and they fit in quite well with our team.”
Juninho turned out to be the most successful of the Brazilian imports, with more than double the minutes of his compatriots and a total of 25 starts.
Despite the success, Galaxy captain Landon Donovan admits that several of his teammates didn’t think that the minute midfielder could cut it in MLS.
“In the beginning of the year there were times where we would all look at each other and say ‘I don’t know if he has it,’” Donovan said. “But he understands this league and he knows how to play in it.
“I’ve been very impressed by how he has picked it up so quickly. But when you talk to him you realize what a bright guy he is and you knew he was going to be successful.”