Obviously the focus of LAFC’s press conference on Wednesday was their official unveiling of Steve Cherundolo as the new head coach, but there were very faint hints of what’s to come next for the first team.
Lead owner Larry Berg offered no specifics, but basically promised signings are coming.
“Without giving too much away right now, I am also confident that we are going to add even more exciting talent to that group very soon,” Berg said at the press conference in his remarks to the press.
GM John Thorrington also mentioned the already-announced additions of Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Franco Escobar, two MLS veterans in their prime years, but also indicated more is on the way. Considering LAFC currently have a roster of 24 players and including some high-profile departures in recent weeks, obviously more will have to be on the way.
But obviously the big question on the current roster front surrounds Carlos Vela. The Mexican star’s contract option was picked up, as announced by the club, but ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported this week that Vela’s contract runs out in June. That means LAFC will either need to negotiate an extension with him beyond the summer, sell him immediately this month, or watch him walk away midseason.
The club leadership did not specifically answer Vela’s contract status, but Cherundolo did say he’s been in touch with the star.
“Carlos and I’ve had great conversations on the phone,” he said. “And we’ll be meeting in the next couple days coming up. To put him in a situation where he and we can succeed and profit from each other, I think that is very important. I think he’s very excited about this. He’s 100% committed as am I, to get Carlos on the field doing when he does best.”
Cherundolo hasn’t been much of a media guy so I’ll try not to go overboard parsing his words since I don’t understand how he talks much yet, but here goes. Overall, this is boilerplate stuff, on the surface saying he wants to work with Vela and be successful together. Obviously, choice of syntax makes it a little different — “profit from each other” could mean on the field or literally, like selling his player rights and making a few bucks, although probably not a big windfall. And then in reading through this a few times, there is a bit of ambiguity present if Vela doesn’t want to stay for all of 2022.
But again, I wouldn’t go too hard reading into this. LAFC exercised the option, so they likely want to work with Vela. We’ll see if that happens, or if any leverage is going to make this more complicated as we get closer to training camp opening in little over a week.
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