Though LAFC expect overseas interest in Carlos Vela, MLS MVP "wants to be here"

LOS ANGELES – Last year, after Carlos Vela’s excellent 2018 debut season in MLS, one of the biggest clubs in the world, FC Barcelona, came calling about the LAFC talisman.

After smashing just about every single-season record in the book, John Thorrington expects the calls to roll in again for the 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP during the offseason.

“We’ve seen it before and I wouldn’t be altogether surprised,” said the LAFC GM after Monday’s press conference for the Most Valuable Player award.

For Vela’s part, after getting a bit choked up in thanking his wife and son in attendance — whom the player called his MVPs in Spanish — the new single-season scoring champion told reporters that he wanted to stay exactly where he was.

“I want to be here,” said Vela, emphatically. “I feel this is my home and if the owners don’t make me go home soon, I will be here for a long time.”

The last comment was jokingly directed at the likes of Larry Berg, Bennett Rosenthal, Peter Guber and Tom Penn, a few key members of the 31-person ownership group of the club.

But despite how comfortable Vela and his family are finding life in Los Angeles, Thorrington has no illusions about how much value he could add to clubs across the globe.

“Carlos would make a difference for any team in the world, I am convinced of that,” he said.

The LAFC GM, who is already starting to think about next season’s roster moves ahead of a 2020 campaign that will feature the Black & Gold’s first appearance in the Concacaf Champions League.

“If you think of the growth of our team a year ago and now fast-forward to where we sit now, last year we talked about improving in a few key areas which we were able to do, and increasing our depth going into Champions League similar to last season,” said Thorrington. “There’s not going to be a lot of turnover with our group. We have a group of players that we really love working with that the staff does a tremendous job with.”

Still, Thorrington also spoke to the straightforward policy the club employs with conversations about players looking to leave LAFC.

“Carlos is no different from all of our players. If something happens, we’re very open with our players and we try to find the right situation with our players and the club,” he said. “We’ve moved on players in the past where that was the case and it was the right thing for the player and economically it made sense for the club.”

But for now, the MLS MVP looks settled in Los Angeles, and will be with the Black & Gold “for a while,” according to Thorrington.

“He was here at the ground floor. He’s essentially the cornerstone of our on-field product. We have designed a team to bring the best out of Carlos and I think that opportunity he has embraced is unique and only we could really offer that to him and he has taken that with both hands.”


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