MLS, welcome to Zlatan: Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy on two-year deal but will not be a DP

It’s official. It’s a deal that has been rumoured for a number of years and it’s now come to fruition as Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy for what will surely be the final years of his incredible career.

The 36-year-old Swedish striker terminated his contract with Manchester United on Thursday. That meant he could join LA Galaxy on a free transfer. But in addition to that coup, the Galaxy have been able to convince him to come to MLS without being a Designated Player.

Ibrahimovic’s contract will run through the 2019 season and he will earn $1.5 million per year, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. That amount is the maximum allowed for a contract using Targeted Allocation Money. So it means Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini will remain DP’s with the Galaxy.

“Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome”

Ibrahimovic is one of football’s biggest characters. He is a global superstar as a result of both his incredible goalscoring exploits and his enormous ego that has made headlines wherever he has played.

He hasn’t even landed in Los Angeles but has already started his famous antics. An entire page of the LA Times was dedicated to Ibrahimovic’s signing on Friday, with a very short message from the man himself. It simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome.”

Ibrahimovic is expected to arrive in LA next week, on either Wednesday and Thursday. He has only played seven times since making an incredibly fast recovery from cruciate knee-ligament damage. He suffered the injury in the Europa League last April.

However, if he feels ready to play from the outset, he could make his debut in the hugely anticipated Los Angeles Derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC on Saturday, March 31 – the first ever meeting between the new rivals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy following a trophy-filled career. The powerful forward scored 421 goals in 21 seasons across Europe. With those goals coming for the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United.

He is the only player to have won 13 titles in four different leagues. He is Sweden’s all-time top goalscorer. And he is the only player to have scored in the following derbies: De Klassieker, the Derby della Madonnina, the Derby d’Italia, El Clásico, Le Classique, the Manchester Derby and the North-West Derby. Don’t bet against him making an immediate impact with a goal in the first LA Derby next weekend.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan.


LA Galaxy willing to take “gamble” as Ashley Cole secures move

Ashley Cole finally made his move to Major League Soccer by signing with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday afternoon, after months of rumours and reports.

The 35-year-old English left-back joins the Galaxy after seeing his contract with AS Roma terminated a year early last week.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea star will join former England teammate, Steven Gerrard, in Los Angeles, while also teaming up with former Premier League rivals Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos.

Keane, Gerrard and Dos Santos currently occupy all three of LA Galaxy’s Designated Player slots, meaning Cole has not joined the club as a DP.

Many MLS fans will be glad to see Cole join the league, but there are also a large number of those who are questioning the decision to sign the three-time Premier League winner after referring to Major League Soccer as “a beach” when linked with a switch two years ago.

Galaxy head coach, Bruce Arena, is aware that there are those with doubts over whether Cole can be a success, but he thinks the signing will prove to be a risk that was worth taking.

“I think that he’s a good addition to our team, but only time will tell. Whether you think it’s a risk or a gamble, these are the risks and gambles that you take,” Arena said.

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“There is a real upside of having Ashley Cole with the LA Galaxy. I think that the opportunity that he’s going to have in LA is going to be a good one for him, and he’s going to be able to contribute greatly to our team.

“Ashley Cole has a great history. We know that doesn’t necessarily translate on the field when you come to MLS but my interactions over the last couple of months show me that he’s a player that has a strong desire to play here in Los Angeles.”

Cole is vastly experienced, having racked up 107 England caps over his career, playing in three World Cups and two European Championships with the Three Lions.

He becomes the Galaxy’s eighth signing of the offseason, joining Jelle Van Damme, Jeff Larentowicz, Mike Magee, Dan Kennedy, Emmanuel Boateng, Daniel Steres and Clement Diop.

Will Ashley Cole succeed in MLS with LA Galaxy? What are your thoughts on the move?

Montreal Impact confirm Didier Drogba signing as “one of biggest days in club history”

Didier Drogba has completed his long anticipated move to Major League Soccer by joining the Montreal Impact as a Designated Player.

The 37-year-old Ivorian striker joins on a free transfer after leaving Chelsea at the end of his one-year contract last season, winning a fourth Premier League title with the Blues, and will undoubtedly help the Impact improve in all aspects.

Drogba is a huge international name and is regarded as one of the greatest players to have emerged from Africa. He has won the African Player of the Year award twice and is the Ivory Coast’s all-time leading goalscorer.

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Chicago Fire looked to be in pole position to land Drogba, though the player was reportedly not so keen on the move and instead wanted to join Montreal.

That looked improbable until the Impact made a huge trade with Chicago for both general and targeted allocation money believed to be worth at least $250,000, according to ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle.

Chicago have since acquired Gilberto from Toronto but it’s Drogba’s move to MLS that will be stealing headlines on Tuesday morning.

“It’s an honor to welcome Didier Drogba to the Impact,” Montreal President Joey Saputo said in a club statement. “From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal.

“This is one of the biggest days in club history and his arrival to the club will be beneficial in every aspect.”

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The Chelsea legend’s leadership qualities and eye for goal will make him an instant hit with Montreal fans, who will be relishing the prospect of watching their new man in action.

The Impact beat Seattle 1-0 on Saturday to move into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference and face New York City FC this Saturday night. Drogba could make his debut against an NYCFC side boasting Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, though long time teammate Frank Lampard is not yet fit enough to make his debut.

How big a signing is Didier Drogba for the Montreal Impact?

LA Galaxy sign Giovani Dos Santos in huge deal worth around $34m

LA Galaxy confirmed the signing of Mexican international star Giovani Dos Santos from Villarreal yesterday in what is a huge deal for both the club and Major League Soccer.

Dos Santos joins the Galaxy as a third Designated Player alongside Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane, with the new Targeted Allocation Money being used to lower the budget charge of Omar Gonzalez’s contract so he is no longer a DP.

At 26, Giovani is a huge capture for MLS and offers further proof that the league is continuing to grow at an alarming rate, with stars from across Europe all keeping tabs on the development of North American soccer in the hope of a move.

The club did not confirm details of the contract but Giovani is believed to be set to earn around $6 million per year on a four-and-a-half-year deal that will keep him in LA through the 2019 season.

On top of that the club had to pay a transfer fee to Spanish side Villarreal to sign him. That fee was reportedly near the $7 million mark, taking the total cost of the deal up to $34 million ($27 million salary and a $7 million transfer fee).

There will therefore be enormous pressure on Giovani to perform to his best ability and head coach Bruce Arena fills he will only get better in MLS.

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“Giovani is a special player,” Arena said. “He has experience and success competing at the highest level and we believe he will only continue to develop. We are happy to add him to our roster and have confidence he can be an integral part of our success going forward.”

His move to MLS sees Dos Santos leave European football for the first time in his career, having started at FC Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy at the age of just 11.

After making his breakthrough with Barcelona, Giovani went on to play for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Galatasaray, RCD Mallorca and most recently Villarreal, where he scored 12 times in 58 league appearances over the past two seasons.

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The tricky attacker won’t join up with his new teammates until Mexico’s CONCACAF Gold Cup run is over, so he is expected to make his debut in early August, with the home game against Seattle Sounders on the 9th looking likely to be the first time we see Giovani play for the Galaxy.

Is Giovani Dos Santos a good signing for MLS and LA Galaxy? How important will he be to the team?

Done Deal: Is new Liverpool signing ideal Gerrard replacement?

The news from Liverpool this morning is that the club have agreed to sign James Milner from Manchester City on a free transfer.

The 29-year-old midfielder has left City in search for regular playing time and the vacant space from Steven Gerrard‘s Major League Soccer departure makes it an ideal move for both parties.

Milner can be used as a utility man, having played just about everywhere on the pitch, but this could be his chance to lock down a more consistent role in the middle of the park.

He brings in experience at the highest level, although not as decorated as Gerrard, his Champions and Europa League experience is vital for Liverpool in their quest to break back into the top four.

Despite Gerrard and Milner being different types of players, the two do draw similarities. Defensively Milner is a very tidy player, with a no nonsense, tough tackling approach, but he deserves recognition for his attacking side to the game.

Milner played in 32 of City’s Premier League games this season, but frustratingly for him, 14 of those were from the bench. He scored five goals and registered seven assists. The England International has played predominantly on the righthand side but a move infield could be favourable and could also be a bonus for the national side, as he would be playing alongside his England teammate, Jordan Henderson.

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Milner has a winning mentality, having won two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup in his time with the Manchester club.

As a free transfer this is a positive signing for Liverpool, Milner is in the peak of his career and could potentially be at the club for the remainder of his playing days.

Is James Milner a good signing for Liverpool and can he help to fill the void left by Gerrard?

DONE DEAL: Arsenal beat United to young French star – report

Arsenal have completed the signing of RC Lens midfielder Yassin Fortune on a three-year deal, according to France Football.

The Frenchman is a regular in the France U16 squad and plays for the Lens U19’s despite only turning 16 in January.

He has been watched by Manchester United scouts this season but Arsenal look to have won the race for the promising talent.

Fortune is a versatile midfielder, who can operate in a holding role, as well as in a more advanced position and is tipped for a big future.

Arsenal fans may have to wait at least a couple of seasons before Fortune makes an appearance for the first team but they look to have made another promising acquisition, beating their Premier League rivals to his signature.

Is Yassin Fortune a good signing for Arsenal? Do they need more young midfielders?

‘Done deal’: Manchester United beat Chelsea to £15m star – report

Manchester United look to have beaten Chelsea to the signing of Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne, as Daily Mirror journalist David McDonnell has told MUTV that “its a done deal”.

Clyne has put in some impressive performances under Ronald Koeman this season but as was the case last summer, good displays lead to links away from the Saints, and Clyne is believed to be worth around £15 million as he has just one year left on his current deal.

United and Chelsea have been linked with moves for the England international but the Red Devils have won the race to sign the 24-year-old defender if McDonnell is to be believed.

The Mirror journalist told MUTV: “United want him, what I’m told is it’s a done deal.”

If the deal is completed, Clyne will follow former teammate Luke Shaw to Old Trafford and the English duo could link up on either side of the United defence as they did so successfully at Southampton last season.

Clyne, who can also play at left-back, has made 29 Premier League appearances this season and has scored twice.

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Brazilian full-back Rafael is looking likely to leave United this summer as he has just one year remaining on his contract and Louis Van Gaal will want to cash in on the defender after an injury-hit campaign.

Nothing has been confirmed by either club but the signs are pointing towards Nathaniel Clyne wearing a Manchester United shirt next season.

Would Nathaniel Clyne be a good signing for Manchester United?