The LA Galaxy have bought out the final year of Giovani dos Santos' contract, the club confirmed on Friday night. The Galaxy are paying out the Mexican international in order to become compliant with MLS Designated Player roster rules.
On the eve of the 2019 season, the Galaxy were struggling to get in line with the league's three designated player rule, having dos Santos, Zlatan Inbrahimovic, Romain Alessandrini and Gio's brother Jonathan dos Santos all on contracts above the DP threshold.
In a statement on the club website, LA Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said, “We have been working with the player this preseason to reach an agreement that is best for both sides. We have come to this decision and believe that it is best for the club and for Giovani. We will work with the player and his representatives to find an on-field solution for the player’s next step. We appreciate what he has contributed to our club and wish him the best in his future.”
Dos Santos, who played for clubs such as Barcelona, Tottenham and Valencia during his European career, joined the Galaxy midway through the 2015 season. He had a productive first year and a half with the club before falling off dramatically the past two seasons as the five-time MLS Cup champions missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. After tallying 17 goals and 17 assists in 38 regular season matches across 2015 and 2016, dos Santos only scored nine and assisted on five in 39 matches the next two seasons.
Dos Santos' contract was worth $6 million guaranteed in 2018, according to the MLS Players Union data, making him the fifth-highest paid player in the league. The buyout price has reportedly not been finalized.
Clarifying: From what I've been told, Gio and LA haven't sorted out final number on buyout. That's why, as @kbaxter11 noted, his contract w/ MLS hasn't yet been terminated. If they agree on a number, Gio becomes a FA. If not, he continues to sit and collect $ until loan/transfer.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) March 1, 2019
It's unclear whether Dos Santos will negotiate a new contract with another club within MLS or be transferred outside the league.
The Galaxy kick off the 2019 MLS season on Saturday, hosting the Chicago Fire.