CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy ended their long courtship of Mexican international Giovani dos Santos on Wednesday by announcing that the 26-year-old midfielder had signed with the club.
The Galaxy announced on Wednesday morning that the player has completed a transfer from Spanish club Villarreal CF where he spent his last two seasons. Dos Santos joins the club after stops with famed clubs like FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Galatasaray.
Although the rumors of Dos Santos’ signing have picked up in recent months, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told LAGalaxy.com that the club’s interest in the El Tri star goes back way further than that.
“Our first conversations with the Dos Santos camp were around 2011, and we thought that we was an exciting personality, and could give us an added dimension in the attack. He’s much more mature as a player and a person, and we think at 26-years-old, he’s not yet hit his prime,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com. “We want to position him where playing on a regular basis with the Galaxy will improve him as a player, and help him secure a position with the Mexican national team, and really be an important part of our franchise for a number of years. We think that he’s going to be a great attacking player. Hopefully everything works out for him.”
The Mexican international with over 80 caps for El Tri is the seventh Designated Player in Galaxy history, joining such accomplished players as David Beckham and Landon Donovan as well as current stalwarts like Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard.
Before a DP signing is made, everything from character to playing style are analyzed by Arena and his staff as well as club President Chris Klein and technical director Jovan Kirovski. After examining all the options, the Galaxy knew that Dos Santos was the right piece to add to the reigning MLS Cup champions.
“When you look a player like Giovani dos Santos, he’s a player that the world has known; he’s a player that we’ve known about for some time,” Klein told LAGalaxy.com. “We’ve wanted to get him to the Galaxy back in 2011, we had another round of conversations back in 2013, and he just wasn’t ready to come. Now we’ve come to the point where it was the right time for the Galaxy and the right time for Giovani.
“We’re excited for the potential of what we can do for him and what he can do for our club. With any decision that we make, there are a lot of factors that have to go into it. It has to make sense for us first from a character perspective and from how it’ll impact us on the field,” he added. “That has to stay the priority for us because once we lose that, we lose the integrity of what we’re trying to do which is to win a championship every year and to be the best club in our region.”
Prior to joining up with the Galaxy, Dos Santos will remain with the Mexican National Team for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup knockout stages. Should the tournament co-favorites reach the final, Arena says that Dos Santos could be in line to make his Galaxy debut as early as the Aug. 9 match against Seattle Sounders FC.
Regardless of when Dos Santos does suit up in Los Angeles, Klein is bullish that the signing is the start of a new step forward for Major League Soccer—and the Galaxy.
“It’s the next step. There’s so many things that have to happen for our league to take giant steps forward as we’ve done. We have to have big players in our league, we have to develop our own players, and we have to attract some of the world’s best players in the prime of their career,” Klein said. “Giovani coming in at this time of his career is a real important statement for the Galaxy and a real important statement for MLS.”