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Los Angeles

LAFC have 'quite a few moving parts' after Gareth Bale's exit as MLS champions aim to build another juggernaut

19:48 GMT+3 10/01/2023
Gareth Bale LAFC
LAFC will be quick to strike in the transfer market after the loss of Gareth Bale to retirement, says president John Thorrington.
  • Signed four players in the past week
  • Looking at further additions
  • Bale rarely featured at LAFC but scored in MLS Cup final

WHAT HAPPENED? Defending MLS champions LAFC will be active in making roster improvements before the season starts next month. They had always planned to use the transfer market this offseason, but the departure of Bale will free up money to add other reinforcements.

On Monday, LAFC announced the signing of veteran Everton goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. They also recently brought in USMNT defender Aaron Long, Croatian league wonderkid Stipe Biuk and Honduran center back Denil Maldonado, who spent time on loan with the Toffees.

WHAT THEY SAID: “In different ways, these four new additions represent what we are at LAFC,” Thorrington told reporters. “We have a young, highly sought-after European prospect in Stipe. We have a player who represented the U.S. in Qatar and has been a mainstay in our league [in Long]. In Denil, we have another player with significant international experience in Honduras, and in Eldin we have a veteran goalkeeper who has played many years in Europe at very high levels.

“There’s still quite a few moving parts, inbound and outbound interest. We’re waiting for everything to happen to gain absolute clarity and what will be possible. I do foresee some more movement. Today we saw the first round of additions. I don't think we’ll be announcing another four players, but I do see some movement.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: LAFC are in a fierce fight with the LA Galaxy to gain market popularity. As such, they cannot afford subpar campaigns, and this offseason is crucial in ensuring they maintain an upper hand over their rivals in 2023. Even without Bale, they have popular players with global appeal in the form of Carlos Vela and Giorgio Chiellini, but being successful on the pitch is about more than starpower.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR LAFC? Their MLS season starts on February 25 against the Galaxy amid a 13-game opening day for the league.