CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have finally gotten their man.
Galaxy president Chris Klein and general manager Peter Vagenas wore wide grins as they introduced LA’s newest star, Jonathan dos Santos, at the StubHub Center on Friday.
It took some maneuvering, such as paying down the contract of former Designated Player Jelle Van Damme with Targeted Allocation Money. But with the Mexican midfielder joining his brother Giovani dos Santos on the Galaxy roster, Vagenas believes they have their final piece.
“Jonathan for us was our big target for the summer,” said Vagenas. “There’s always avenues to make trades, but in terms of our summer signings, Jonathan was our No. 1 target.”
The Galaxy suddenly find themselves with a plethora of midfielders, albeit of varying degrees of fitness.
LA have usually fielded Joao Pedro and Jermaine Jones as central midfielders this season, with Ema Boateng and Romain Alessandrini out wide. Jonathan has slotted in at both places recently in his career, and players’ roles are up in the air with the appointment of Sigi Schmid as new Galaxy head coach this week. That’s part of the reason the Galaxy are so high on Jonathan – his ability to play anywhere.
“Jonathan’s a player that can play multiple positions,” said Klein. “He plays as a holding midfielder for the Mexican national team, he plays wide for Villarreal. A player like Jonathan can fit into any system. In the end it’s 11 players on the field and we’re getting the best 11.
“I understand that you have to put them in a formation that makes us good. That’s something that Sigi can and will do.”
The Galaxy have to wait for the completion of his international transfer certificate and visa, meaning he can’t train until that paperwork is processed. But the club hopes for it to be finished next week, at which point it probably won’t be long until fans see him on the field.
“Jonathan was clear,” said Klein. “He said yesterday, with his body he only needs one week. Maybe with someone other players it’d take a longer time. He’s an incredible athlete, he’s a world-class player. Our expectation is that he’ll be up to speed very quickly.”
While the Galaxy sealed the deal with one player they’ve targeted from nearly the moment they signed his older brother, the move also seems to close the door on another long rumored target: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“We have an incredible relationship with Zlatan and his agent,” said Klein. “He loves our club, he loves LA. We have an interest in him. For now, he wants to stay in Europe.
“Certainly our doors are open for a player like that. We have rights to him in our league. We’ll see where that goes.”