ESPN’s John Sutcliffe reported on Thursday night that Mexico’s Andres Guardado will be signing with 2018 MLS expansion side Los Angeles Football Club. The deal is reportedly a four-year contract for the 30-year-old, and while it was not specified, would almost certainly be a Designated Player deal.
Guardado has been playing his club soccer in Europe since 2007. Currently with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, he has previously played in Spain for Valencia and Deportivo La Coruña and had a short loan stint in Germany for Bayer Leverkusen. The Guadalajara native got his start at Atlas, a traditional powerhouse in Liga MX for producing homegrown players.
A Mexico international since 2005, Guardado has 133 caps and 24 goals for his country, and in recent years has been captain of the side, including at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where El Tri won the tournament. He is currently in Russia with the Mexican national team, who will kick off their 2017 Confederations Cup slate this weekend.
Guardado is probably the most versatile high-level player from Mexico in at least a generation. At various points in his career, he’s played as a winger, central attacking midfielder, wide midfielder, wingback and fullback.
This report has not surprisingly already gotten some people excited, despite the fact that this is not the first time Guardado has been linked to LAFC. Sutcliffe is in Russia covering El Tri right now and obviously has close sources in Mexican soccer, but his track record of rumors in MLS has been spotty. He famously called MLS buying back Chivas USA from Jorge Vergara the day before it happened in 2014, but he also reported all of last summer that Guardado was definitely joining Atlanta United, which of course did not actually come to pass.
Also, Guardado reportedly has one year left on his contract. This may mean he wouldn’t join LAFC until July 2018, midway through the club’s debut campaign, or it might require LAFC to either pay a transfer fee or do some kind of buyout depending on the timing. Guardado is in his 30s, is well regarded but not a superstar, and is playing in a good but not top-dollar league, so a transfer fee might not break the bank. Obviously, standard MLS policy is to try and avoid paying transfer fees whenever possible, but it may not be such a big deal in this case. At any rate, that’s another factor in this whole story.
So we’ll see. I think people are so excited to see big names sign for LAFC, understandably so, but I’m going to wait until some more reports from other folks start rolling in before I declare Guardado-to-LAFC actually imminent.
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