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Official: Andres Guardado signs with Real Betis

R.I.P., Guardado to LAFC transfer rumors.

Soccer: Croatia vs Mexico Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

We can now, officially, scratch Andres Guardado’s name off the list for Los Angeles Football Club potential signings, folks.

The Mexican National Team captain was officially announced Friday afternoon by Spain’s Real Betis by a video on Twitter, completing a transfer from PSV Eindhoven and signing a three-year contract.

The past couple months have been filled with rumors and reports linking the 30-year-old midfielder to LAFC. On June 15th, ESPN’s John Sutcliffe reported that Guardado would be signing with the club. Although Sutcliffe reported last summer that Guardado was heading to Atlanta to join new expansion MLS members Atlanta United, his latest report said that Guardado would sign a four-year contract, and sounded essentially like a done deal. Kevin Baxter of the LA Times also corroborated the report, saying that it was not a done deal, but that the sides were “very close.“

On June 20th, Tom Marshall of ESPN reported, via an interview with Guardado at the Confederations Cup in Russia, that the midfielder said he had been approached by MLS, but that there was no deal in place.

“They've made approaches from a long time ago and there are always offers. I've still got a year left in PSV and I'm not thinking of leaving just to leave,” he said. “I'm happy there.”

“They've placed me in MLS for three years. They say I'm tied to Atlanta and then somewhere else.”

That was the moment we were all made aware that the deal was further away than we thought. What was originally reported as done turned into “very close,“ turned into “I’m not thinking of leaving just to leave.“

Then came the report on July 5th, which said that the player was expected to go to Betis. At that point, it was still a report, but now, Guardado has been officially announced, and LAFC are left to move on to the next Designated Player candidate.

Guardado, realistically, was never going to be an easy signing for LAFC. The main issue was that he still had a year left on his contract with PSV, so LAFC would have needed PSV to either waive the transfer fee or release him from his contract, or find some other sort of agreement. Paying the transfer fee itself was not necessarily out of the question, but in economic terms for most MLS clubs, they prefer to pick up players who do not currently have a contract, so they do not have to pay additional fees.

This marks Guardado’s return to La Liga after playing for PSV for the past thee years. He formerly played for Valencia for three years between 2012-2015 and Deportivo La Coruña from 2007-2012. He also had a short loan stint at Bayer Leverkusen. He has made 139 appearances for El Tri, captaining his side in recent years, and scoring 24 goals.

With Guardado officially signing for Betis, LAFC are left to move on to the next option for a Designated Player. Guardado was linked for a while to LAFC and seemed to make a lot of sense: he is only 30 and has international experience at a high level, and would be a great signing for the multi-cultural scene of Los Angeles.

There are still plenty of rumors swirling for LAFC’s first DP signing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Hernandez both come up right away, but both have their own issues involved; Ibra is recovering from injury, while Chicharito is pretty young at 29 and still has time on his Leverkusen contract, so he might be expensive. Wayne Rooney’s name has been mentioned, but he is also reportedly close to a move back to Everton, which would count him out for a move to MLS. Wesley Sneijder was also a recent rumor, but that seems to have cooled down after getting interest from Sampdoria in Italy.

Then, there is former AC Milan man Keisuke Honda. Honda was released from his contract by the Rossoneri earlier this month, and has been in Los Angeles recently. He has been training with LAFC’s USL affiliate Orange County SC, and Metro’s Kristian Dyer reported that Honda has been offered a contract by LAFC that would make him one of the highest-paid MLS players ever.

With Guardado officially out of the picture, I for one think it is safe to say that the Keisuke Honda Hype Train is officially boarding.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!