Giovani Dos Santos set to sign for LA Galaxy - reports
Mexico star Giovani dos Santos has joined the Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy from Villarreal, according to various media reports.
The LA Times says that a Galaxy official has confirmed the deal, with the reigning MLS Cup champions set to pay a $7 million transfer fee for the 26-year-old.
The deal will be signed on Wednesday, according to the Dos Santos family's legal representative, Jesus Rodriguez Davalos, of the Mexico-based firm Cutting Edge. Rodriguez Davalos said the deal is for 4 1/2 years, although the club would not confirm the length of the contract.
With three designated players already on the Galaxy books -- Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and U.S. defender Omar Gonzalez -- LA needed to wait until the MLS adopted new salary cap rules last week before completing the Dos Santos deal.
"There's a lot of things that have to happen for a deal of this magnitude," Galaxy president Chris Klein said. "We've had an interest in Giovani dos Santos. And I think he's always had an interest in us.
"It just took time for everything to come together."
The elder Dos Santos brother, who is playing with Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tonight as El Tri face Trinidad-Tobago for an 8:30 p.m. ET start, could join the Galaxy at the end of this month, which would put his MLS debut for Aug. 9 vs. the Seattle Sounders at the StubHub Center, the LA Times said.
Galaxy coach and general manager Bruce Arena stressed that Dos Santos has "all those great little qualities in and around the penalty area.
"He has the individual flair that sometimes we lack in the final third of the field," Arena said. "His running off the ball's good. He can go by people. He has an excellent first touch. He's a finisher. He can pass," Arena told the LA Times.
Dos Santos, who played alongside his brother Jonathan last season at Villarreal in La Liga, helped Mexico to 2011 Gold Cup gold, scoring in the 76th minute in El Tri's 4-2 win over the United States in the final. He made his debut with the senior national team in 2007 as a teenager and won a U17 World Cup and an Olympic gold medal for Mexico.
The Monterrey, Mexico, native has played his entire club career in Europe. In Spain, he played with Barcelona, Racing Santander and Mallorca. In England he played with Tottenham and Ipswich Town along with a stint in Turkey with Galatasaray. Over the past two seasons with Villarreal he scored 12 goals in 58 games.
Dos Santos' father, Geraldo Francisco "Zizinho" dos Santos was at the Galaxy's friendly with Club America last Saturday, where he met with Klein, the LA Times reported. Zizinho, a native of Sao Paolo, played for nine years in Mexico, including two stints with America. The elder Dos Santos, who also played two seasons with the Los Angeles Lazers of the defunct Major Indoor Soccer League.
"We feel privileged to have represented Gio's best interests at both the professional and sporting level via this deal, which is the most important for a Mexican footballer in a foreign league," said Rodriguez Davalos in a news release.
Cutting Edge also credited Zizinho and Dos Santos' European agent, Vicente Montes, for helping broker the deal.
"[Cutting Edge]'s participation has been very important for us," Zizinho said. "They have always protected the best interests of Gio. The firm provides a breath of fresh air, an important alternative, one of professionalism and transparency, in the world of the elite athlete transfer market."