TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Roster Update
The LA Galaxy announced on Friday that they have exercised a contract buyout for Designated Player Giovani dos Santos in order to allow the team to be roster compliant by the March 1 deadline. The move was first reported by The Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter.
After Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed a new Designated Player deal in the offseason, the Galaxy had four DPs on their roster approaching the roster compliance deadline, one above the league's maximum three permitted per club. The contract buyout leaves the Galaxy with three DPs: Giovani's brother Jonathan dos Santos, Frenchman Romain Alessandrini and Ibrahimovic.
Dos Santos, 29, played for the Galaxy for three and a half seasons, scoring 26 goals and 22 assists in 77 MLS regular season matches. His best year came in 2016, when he scored 14 goals and 12 assists, but injuries, absences for international duty and lagging form during the last two years meant he was the player deemed most likely to move on among LA's Designated Players in order for the club to be roster compliant.
"We discussed the possibility of [Giovani] being here with the big intention to show what he's capable of," Galaxy GM Dennis Te Kloese told media after the move. "But in the end, I think it's the best decision for all parties involved. We part ways and it's something that's done."
Per league rules, each MLS club has the option to buy out one player who has a guaranteed contract. The buyout must happen during the offseason and at the club's expense.
Baxter's report indicates that while Giovani dos Santos will no longer play for the Galaxy, he remains under contract in MLS and could move to a new MLS team, or he could be transferred abroad by the league. Te Kloese indicated that the club would help "the player and his representatives to find an on-field solution for the player's next step."
The Mexican international has been injured in preseason, with Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto saying this week the player was about 10 days away from joining training, indicating the manager believed the player would continue with the club in 2019. Te Kloese told media that the buyout had nothing to do with the injury and that the player is "in perfect condition."
"It's a difficult decision, but it's obviously nothing close to [being] anything personal," Te Kloese said. "It's a professional decision and for the best benefit for everybody and we move on."
The Galaxy will now turn to the transfer market to strengthen the squad.
"It obviously frees up some funds," Te Kloese told media when asked about any impending moves to replace Dos Santos. "We've been actively scouting in the last few months since the new technical staff started ... But we obviously need additions and we need to strengthen and deepen our roster in certain positions. And we're very actively doing that, and obviously going forward with some acquisitions, hopefully soon. But It could also take a little bit of time based on the players scouted and their availability."
The Galaxy open the 2019 MLS regular season on Saturday, at home against the Chicago Fire (8 pm ET | FS1 and FOX Deportes in USA, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).