After weeks of anticipation and speculation, the Los Angeles Galaxy finally got their man.
Juan Pablo Angel and the Galaxy agreed to terms on Wednesday to make the Colombian striker the club’s third Designated Player, along with Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
While LA had held the striker’s rights since taking him in the Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 15, a month passed without a deal. But it was worth the wait, Ángel said.
“Like any deal, there were some issues you had to go through,” he said in a conference call on Wednesday. “The holidays and the timing and the draft and all those things that were up in the air didn’t help, but I was always hoping. I’m delighted that all the patience and the wait finally paid off.”
Now that Ángel is signed and sealed and all but delivered – he's slated to arrive in Southern California in the coming days – Bruce Arena said the process of building the team ahead of training camp can now begin in earnest.
“He’s not only a quality player, but a quality person, and he’ll bring a lot to the Galaxy on and off the field and certainly in the locker room,” the Galaxy head coach told MLSsoccer.com.
GALLERY: Ángel's MLS career in pictures
[inline_node:32208]The 35-year-old Ángel has scored 58 goals in four seasons in MLS since joining the New York Red Bulls in 2007, when Arena was in charge of the club.
The month-long negotiations between the Colombian and the Galaxy weren’t because of Ángel’s rumored desire to stay in the East Coast or perhaps play for a different team, Arena said.
“The concern was getting a deal done,” Arena said. “We have great ownership and they’re very supportive and I knew we would eventually reach an agreement with Juan. That’s all part of it with high-profile players. There’s a negotiation period you have to respect and we did that.”
The Galaxy will welcome Ángel’s goal-scoring skills, but will also rely on them from the start. He must replace Edson Buddle, who scored 17 goals for Los Angeles in 2010 before leaving for 2.Bundesliga side FC Ingolstadt earlier this month.
Having players like fellow DPs Donovan and Beckham around will help Ángel settle into his new club, he admitted.
“Landon is probably the best player to ever play the sport in this country and David is a world-class player and I’m really looking forward to trying to be on the end of their services,” Ángel said. “I know what I need to do and hopefully I can be in the right spots when they provide the services.”
Aside from joining a team with some top-level talent, Ángel said he is eager to join what has been one of the best clubs in MLS in recent years.
“In general, I’m excited because of the team,” he said. “This has been one of the strongest teams in the last few years and they have a good spine, some good young talent, some experienced players and I’m looking forward to add with my talent and with my experience to this already good team.”
WATCH: Angel Highlights