Editorial (December 22, 2018) – Earlier this week, the LA Galaxy announced they had come to an agreement with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a new contract. The Swedish international was already under contract for the 2018 season, but wanted a pay raise and commitment from the front office to winning in 2019.
So about those four LA Galaxy DPs
It is expected that this re-signing gave Ibrahimovic a significant pay raise, making him a Designated Player in 2019. With that the Galaxy now have four DPs, three more than allowed per the MLS Roster Rules and Regulations: Ibrahimovic, Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, and Romain Alessandrini.
The Galaxy will have to change that by the roster compliance date next year. A few outcomes are possible but this could require the Galaxy to make some tough decisions. Firstly, they could move one of their other DPs. Supporters might prefer that Giovani dos Santos be the player to go given the size of his contract and the inverse production he’s provided to the club (let alone his apparent disinterest in playing and helping the team win).
This seems to be the least likely option just due to the size of the contract and the form of the player. The Galaxy have expressed interest in taking calls on Gio’s availability. This might be the best option, but also the least likely.
The Galaxy could move one of the other DPs. Alessandrini and Jonathan dos Santos had productive seasons and have good value contracts. Both would have value within the league as well as abroad, particularly Alessandrini in France and Dos Santos going back home to play in Liga MX. There have already been rumors around Alessandrini and Montreal Impact.
Alessandrini is the most likely to leave, simply because of the dos Santos brothers and their desire to stay together, inhibiting one of them from accepting a transfer. The front office pushing back could lose the attention from both of them.
Because of his value, salary, productivity, and not being a Dos Santos brother, Alessandrini is probably the most likely to move of the three.
The last option could be a change in the MLS roster rules. Right now all four Galaxy DPs are above the threshold to have their contracts bought down by Targeted Allocation Money. Should MLS raise that threshold, the Galaxy could (with a move or two) be able to buy down Alessandrini’s contract, making him a TAM player in 2019. It would require a well-timed rule change from the league, but it’s possible.