Editorial – Pavon Watch is finally over. After nearly every possible outcome being reported by a number of sources, Cristian Pavon has signed with the LA Galaxy. For a team in much need of re-energizing, the LA Galaxy offense has much needed reinforcements.
LA Galaxy Offense: Cristian Pavon, a Second Scoring Option, and More
The 2019 LA Galaxy have been consistently inconsistent. The defense has been functional for most of the season but the attack has been inconsistent. With a handful of new players joining the squad, the squad has yet to find a viable scoring option outside of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
LA Galaxy Offensive Reinforcements:
After Ibrahimovic, who has 16 goals and is third in the MLS Golden Boot race, Daniel Steres has the most goals on the team with three. With Ibrahimovic zoned out in some games, the Galaxy need another goal scoring options.
Uriel Antuna hasn’t been much of a finisher with the opportunities he’s gotten. For most of the season, the Galaxy have played with Ibrahimovic as a lone striker, allowing opposing defenses to focus on him without a threat elsewhere, save for something spectacular or set pieces.
Enter Cristian Pavon. Additionally, Romain Alessandrini is coming back from his knee injury from April. With that, the Galaxy would have legitimate threats on both flanks, who can create their own shooting opportunities and provide much better service to Ibrahimovic.
How quickly could these two get into the squad and get fit? Can Pavon adjust to MLS quickly, find the form he had at Boca Juniors under Guillermo Barros Schelotto? Can one of these players become a viable secondary scoring option (five to seven goals this season or so)?
The answers to these questions could determine if the Galaxy are a contender in the Western Conference and if they make it to MLS Cup.
Thoughts on the Deal:
Many fans, club officials, and pundits expressed frustration with the LA Galaxy’s loan deal to acquire Pavon. It certainly took some creative deal structuring with the potential extension of the loan and option to buy after that.
Some have seen it as the Galaxy skirting the rules by adding a DP caliber player to their team without having to pay a DP price. Others pointed out the lack of a loan fee for 2019 or rather the fact that the loan fee for a potential 18-month total loan would not be paid until 2020.
The Galaxy spent over two decades building up their reputation internationally of being a quality well-funded organization. For any international star, they have a plethora of former players to contact about MLS and the club. David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, etc. have wonderful things to say about the club.
Ibrahimovic was so desperate to get to the Galaxy that he was willing to do whatever it took (in that case a $1.5 million salary to be a TAM player) to get to the club. He turned down multi-million dollar contract offers to play in China and elsewhere.
Rhetorical question: How much money would a Chicago Fire or Colorado Rapids have had to offer Ibrahimovic in order to sign there? What would former players from those clubs who Ibrahimovic had heard of and respected say about those clubs? Would they give him insight that would make him be willing to take a pay cut in order to get there?
Based on the available information, the Galaxy made this Cristian Pavon deal work within the rules of the league. It was unconventional and some of the details might be unprecedented, but not illegal.
Perhaps those complaining should instead look at other clubs around the league to find out why their front offices weren’t able to pull off a deal like this or what it would have taken for Pavon to consider signing with them. How dare the Galaxy use their brand, reputation, and staff connections to their advantage.