Just a day after announcing the departure of star striker, Chicho Arango, LAFC announced the arrival of a new signing to help bolster the squad as they look to repeat as MLS CUP Champions. The team announced today the signing of Spanish defender, Sergi Palencia to a contract through 2024 with a club option in 2025. Palencia will be added to LAFC’s roster pending receipt of International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
Bienvenido al Barrio Angelino, Sergi. #LAFC pic.twitter.com/qeZ2wJ4ewo— LAFC (@LAFC) February 2, 2023
“Palencia is a talented defender with experience in some of the top leagues in Europe,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in a statement. “He is a great fit to what we are building at LAFC, and we are excited to welcome him to Los Angeles.”
Palencia, 26, joins LAFC after playing the 2022-2023 season with French Ligue 2 side AS Saint-Étienne, where he made nine appearances (seven starts) and registered one assist. The Badalona, Spain native arrived in Saint-Étienne on a permanent transfer from FC Barcelona in the summer of 2019, where he made nine appearances, including six French Ligue 1 appearances and one Europa League appearance with current LAFC teammate Denis Bouanga.
A product of FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia Youth Academy, like current LAFC teammate and MLS All-Star Ilie Sanchez, Palencia first joined Barça in 2007 at 11-years old and proceeded to make a total of 103 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona B from 2015-2019, scoring two goals and registering eight assists. Palencia won the U-19 UEFA Youth League Championship with Barcelona U-19 in 2013-14. He was loaned from Saint-Étienne to CD Leganés of the Spanish Second Division in 2020, and proceeded to make 74 appearances across all competitions before returning to Saint-Étienne in 2022.
As is the case any team, in any sport, wins a championship, LAFC are faced with balancing the departure of standout talents with bringing in players who not only fit the culture, but can help the team reach their second championship.
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