The summer European transfer window is here, which means it’s time for some transfer talk. Los Angeles Football Club may be nine months from starting up matches in the MLS, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited about some potential transfers that could be wearing black and gold.
We have heard several rumors for LAFC over the last year and change, so with the transfer window approaching, we wanted to run through the rumored players and where they currently stand.
Let’s start off with the most popular player out of contract at the moment: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Before his severe knee injury in the Europa League against Anderlecht, we had all heard several reports that when Zlatan’s contract ended at the end of the season, he might be on his way to MLS, and it seemed perfect that he could be LAFC’s marquee signing and Designated Player. Then, he got a double injury in his knee and required surgery, perhaps putting a dent in his hopes of going to a big European side. The Swedish striker has been officially released from Manchester United, which means he is a free agent and can sign for free wherever he wishes, whether in MLS or China, or even in Europe if a team wants to take a chance on him. Ibra would be a great signing for any team, just look at his 28 goals as a 35-year-old with Man United, but would be an absolute beast in the City of Angels. One caveat: That destination could actually be the LA Galaxy, with conflicting reports on Saturday indicating a deal may already be lined up for Zlatan to go to Carson.
Chicharito, striker for Bayer Leverkusen, is probably the most persistent link to LAFC over the past several months. Most recently, reports that Hernandez would want over $10 million a year cooled the speculation on his imminent transfer, but I can’t be alone in thinking he would be worth the money. He’s 29 years old, and had 13 goals in 36 appearances with Leverkusen last season, for a team that struggled in all competitions. Chicharito has been rumored to leave the club, with possible destinations including Lyon. The possible problem with this transfer is that LAFC would have to fork over some cash for a transfer fee, then pay Chicharito a massive salary. This is not a rumor that is looking as good as it once did, but we can always hope.
Rooney is another interesting case. One of the legends of Manchester United, and a holder of many records for the club, Rooney had 39 appearances and eight goals last season as United won the League Cup and Europa League — but he did not play a significant role in the campaign, truthfully. Rooney does not appear to be in the plans for Jose Mourinho next season, and has been linked to not only LAFC, but also his first club, Everton and other teams in England. China and LA Galaxy are also in the running, but LAFC confirmed they were looking at Rooney last fall. He also, like Chicharito, is still under contract, which means LAFC would have to either find a way to cancel the contract, pay the transfer fee, or wait until 2019 for the contract to expire. Unlike Chicharito and Zlatan, however, Rooney has appeared to slow down the past couple seasons. He’s 31, which really is not that old, and could put up some big numbers in LA.
Carlos Vela, currently with Real Sociedad, has been linked to MLS before. He almost joined the Colorado Rapids in 2015, but a big point of note is the estimated $10 million transfer fee. It may very well be worth it, for one of if not the best Mexican player out there (with due respect to Chicharito and Giovani dos Santos), but an issue is his form and his attitude. He has said before that he does not really like soccer beyond playing for a living, and has gone for months without catching fire or playing well. For $10 million, and for someone that would be their marquee star signing, LAFC is going to want someone who will score some goals and draw some eyes to the team. He would have the same influence as Chicharito with the bilingual LA culture, but has never exactly been a fan of being “the guy“ at a team.
Fabregas, midfielder for the Premier League champion Chelsea, has said in the past that he is open to a move to the MLS, saying that when he knows he cannot play in the Europe anymore, he is good with going to the United States (thanks?). He has also, like so many players (including some Chelsea players), been linked to China. Fabregas was not been a mainstay in Antonio Conte’s lineup this season, but when he got in showed his usual exceptional passing skills and ball movement. Linked to LAFC back in November, there’s been no chatter on him in the meantime. Does that mean it’s dead, or merely dormant?
The Mexican National Team captain and PSV Eindhoven defender was linked to LAFC as early as last summer, and has been one of the most persistent transfer rumors around MLS the last couple years. He was linked to Atlanta United, but did not turn into a signing for them. He also was linked to the Chicago Fire, who had discovery rights for him, and who had missed out on Jermaine Jones, but they did not sign him and have now signed Bastian Schweinsteiger, so they might be out of the running now, too. He can play in the midfield or wing-back, and is just 30 years old. He would be another great marketable player for LAFC, but maybe more as a second or third DP than a first signing.
Luka Modric has been solid in the lineup for Real Madrid, who just won La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, for years now. He’s helped the side win three Champions Leagues in four years, and is one of the best central midfielders out there for advancing the play, moving the ball, and picking out a pass from anywhere on the pitch. He is somewhat of a surprising rumor, something that emerged in November, too, as he has shown no sign of slowing down even at the age of 31. There are a couple rumors of him leaving Madrid, with him even saying he may leave if they win the Champions League, which they did. He may not be as much of a legend or a “face of the franchise“ as Zlatan or Rooney, and may not be the most marketable player for the LA market, but if he was the second DP for LAFC, that would be a fantastic duo.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!