Have the LA Galaxy signed Mexican star Giovani Dos Santos primarily because of LAFC? Of course not.
Dos Santos is a good player who has the pedigree and has carved out a good career in Europe, and performed for his country on a number of age levels so far. Signing a player of his caliber at 26 is a good sign for MLS overall. Certainly, the Galaxy will be looking at him first and foremost to help them win trophies.
But the signing of Gio, in addition to Steven Gerrard, represents a change in the direction of the Galaxy's roster building. Though they have long held the reputation of signing stars, since they invented that in the modern sense through David Beckham, after signing Robbie Keane in 2011, the Galaxy pretty explicitly turned to a program of developing Homegrown talent and pouring money into player development, instead of simply signing a star every transfer window.
One can argue that approach was based on the rules in place. Since they had Keane, Landon Donovan and first Beckham and then Omar Gonzalez in the allotted three Designated Player slots, the next way to take advantage of the system was to really pay attention to bringing in local players to form the bedrock of the roster moving forward. And that's valid.
But if there wasn't a local competitor breathing down the Galaxy's neck, giving them a three-year advantage to consolidate their marketshare over the Los Angeles area, would they go after Dos Santos at this point in his career? It's impossible to say, of course, but with a new team with a shiny new stadium coming around in the city limits in a few years, there's no question the Galaxy are trying to maximize the advantages they have right now, and if Dos Santos becomes a successful player for them, it could help the club in more ways than one, including the battle for hearts and dollars of current and potential MLS fans.
At the very least, even if the signing isn't made expressly with LAFC in mind (which I don't think it is), it is a shot across the bow and a message to LAFC -- you're going to have to do a hell of a lot more than simply build a stadium in Los Angeles to be a success in MLS. New team on the block, you've got your work cut out for you before you can even dominate LA, let alone MLS.
And that's a message that LAFC would be wise to heed as they build an MLS club brick by brick.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!