After less than eight months, Nigel de Jong has officially moved on from MLS.
The LA Galaxy announced on Wednesday that they and the Dutch midfielder mutually agreed to terminate his contract, freeing the 31-year-old to sign with Turkish club Galatasaray. According to the Turkish club, there was no transfer fee involved in the deal.
De Jong was signed by LA in February from AC Milan. The Galaxy used Targeted Allocation Money to sign the two-time World Cup veteran, who reportedly would’ve become a Designated Player in the 2017 season.
De Jong appeared in 18 regular season contests for LA, failing to score or notch an assist in regular season play but establishing himself as a solid presence at the base of their midfield. While he’s been mostly solid for LA, de Jong’s time in MLS will likely be most remembered for a pair of multi-game suspensions, including a three-match ban for a harsh tackle on Portland and US national team attacker Darlington Nagbe in April.
The Galaxy acknowledged on Tuesday that de Jong was in Turkey attempting to finalize a move with their “blessing.” Head coach Bruce Arena and several LA players were frank in their assessment of the veteran midfielder, with midfielder Mike Magee telling reporters that “he’s not a guy we wanted to lose.”
“I don’t think you need me to tell you that he’s a great player,” Magee said. “We just gotta move on. Hopefully it’s the best situation for him and his family. I hope he’s making 20 million a year in Turkey. I’ll miss him for sure.”
“He’s a winner,” Magee continued. “Galatasaray, if that’s where he’s going, they’re getting a hell of a player.”
De Jong, who has had stints with Ajax, Hamburg, Manchester City and Milan, has made 81 career appearances for the Dutch national team. He represented the Netherlands at the World Cup in 2010 and 2014 and helped them qualify for the 2006 tournament before suffering an injury that kept him out of the competition. Possible candidates to replace him in the LA lineup include Baggio Husidic and Jeff Larentowicz.