CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy president Chris Klein has pledged that the club will be “aggressive” in adding to the roster after the departure of two high-profile players this week.
On Wednesday, the Galaxy announced that they have transferred Brazilian midfielder Juninho to Club Tijuana for an undisclosed fee. The move follows the transfer of Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX side C.F. Pachuca a day earlier.
Although it was tough for the Galaxy to transfer two fan favorites, Klein admits that the moves needed to be done.
“We don’t like to lose players that are important to us, and that is Omar and Juninho,” Klein told LA Galaxy Insider. “However, the Galaxy has shown over the course of our history that we will have players that will leave, and we will replace them with players that will make our team stronger. That’s our aim and focus. Nothing has changed, and we’re going to be as aggressive as we’ve ever been heading into 2016.”
Juninho’s transfer south of the border ends a six-year stay with the Galaxy that saw the midfielder blossom from preseason trialist to one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. The 26-year-old ends his tenure with the club with 187 appearances as well as 18 goals and 23 assists.
With Juninho and Gonzalez leaving for Mexico, Klein says that the “process has already started” to find new talent to augment the two departures.
“We’re going to get a lot of money. We’ve got a lot of resources to upgrade our team. This could be a message that the Galaxy plays by the rules too,” Klein said referencing the team’s big money perception among league circles. “We made a decision that was best for Juninho and the Galaxy. He’s meant a tremendous amount to us on and off the field, but this is not an easy thing for us. We’re very confident that we’re going to be able to field a better team in 2016.”
But is the departure of the two players a sign that the league’s stringent salary rules make it difficult to keep a roster together?
“I think that is definitely part of it. I’m sure that it’s the whole story because it happens all over the world. It happens in the [English Premier League] or the NFL. Whether you’re in a cap system or not,” Klein said. “I do think that there is part of it in the way that our league is structured, but at the end of the day, this is sports, and the Galaxy are going to move forward and be stronger for it.”