CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy say they'll reveal their third Designated Player on Thursday. Bruce Arena says he wants to have Omar Gonzalez's situation finalized “this week.”
A connection? Almost certainly, after reports surfaced last week that the club was negotiating such a deal with its big center back, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
“Remains to be seen,” Arena said when asked about Gonzalez's contract following Wednesday's training session at the StubHub Center. “Hopefully, we can get something finalized this week.”
The Galaxy have two DPs, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, and another spot that's been empty since David Beckham's departure following last season. There has been much speculation and reports, mostly from abroad, that any of Frank Lampard, Andrey Arshavin, Giovani dos Santos, Anderson or Samuel Eto'o would be LA's third DP, but the desire to keep Gonzalez led the club on another path.
Gonzalez, 24, has been the foundation of LA's backline as they've won back-to-back MLS Cup titles, two Supporters' Shields and three Western Conference crowns since 2009, and he's become a first-choice defender this year for Jurgen Klinsmann with the US national team. There has been interest in Mexico and in Europe, and he went on loan last year to FC Nürnberg but tore an ACL in his first training session with the Bundesliga side.
“I think at some point I do want to go to Europe, but I think it has to be the right time, and I'm still trying to figure that out ...,” Gonzalez said Wednesday. “Whether it be at the end of the year or whether it be later, three years from now, it doesn't matter.”
Gonzalez said he enjoys playing in Los Angeles and would “love to stay here.”
“We've been talking back and forth, and, you know, the talks are continually going,” he said. “I think we've done some great things together here at the Galaxy, and right now my focus is on getting a third championship, a third consecutive championship, and that's where my focus is.”