After spending time in the shirts of more European clubs than you probably remember, Mexican international midfielder Giovani dos Santos is headed to North America to join the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer. The former Barcelona, Tottenham (with loans to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander), Mallorca and Villarreal man is headed to Los Angeles for a $7 million transfer fee and has signed a deal through the 2019 season. According to the LA Times, dos Santos is “seeking an annual salary close to the $6 million the team is paying former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.”
Of course, the Galaxy’s addition of dos Santos doesn’t come without the requisite MLS bureaucratic kerfuffle. The midfielder joins a Galaxy team that already features the league limit of three designated players — Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and newcomer Steven Gerrard — so the league had to create a new mechanism (drink!) to make all of this legal. Targeted allocation money to help pay for expensive players is a thing now. The only relevant detail from a fan perspective is it means better (or at least more famous) players have another pathway to join MLS.
The sort of person who gets angry at MLS finding ways to improve the on-field product either a) made a poor choice and supports a cheap franchise (shout out to Colorado), b) finds valor in pointing out the obvious that “MLS is weird,” but has no real intention of watching less of it, or c) is unfortunately a member of the players union and is starting to realize that the last round of collective bargaining agreement negotiations wasn’t the breakthrough they thought it was. For you, the fan who invests time and energy in search of entertainment, this is a win.
What would really make this signing fun is finding out that dos Santos’ salary was capped at just under $6 million dollars to ensure that Steven “I’m 35, but I played for Liverpool” Gerrard would still be the highest paid player on the team. If true, it would be difficult to decide what was funnier: Gerrard (or his agent) being petty enough to have a big-dog-gotta-eat-first clause in his deal, or the fact that he would be laughing at the extra $1-3 million dos Santos won’t be making from the cavernous depths of his museum-sized home. You win again, Stevie G. Get paid, son!
So welcome, Giovani dos Santos. An entire league is now holding you responsible for cracking LA’s valuable Mexican-American fan demographic in the wake of the Chivas USA disaster. No pressure, man. Regardless, you’ll be about $20 million richer, living on a beach and only about 30 years old when this contract ends, so things are looking up. Whatever happens, this is better than playing for Tottenham. Congratulations.