LA Galaxy fill Designated Player vacancies with Alessandrini, Van Damme

Wednesday February 1st, 2017

With Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard headed elsewhere, the LA Galaxy had a pair of Designated Player vacancies to fill, and they've done so by going abroad and staying in-house.

The Galaxy announced the signing of French midfielder Romain Alessandrini from Marseille and re-signed center back rock Jelle Van Damme to a new deal that elevates him to DP status, with the pair complementing Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos to occupy the club's three DP spots.

Alessandrini, 27, has inherited Keane's No. 7 shirt and joins the club runs with Rennes and Marseille in Ligue 1 dating back to 2012.

“At the end of the day, it’s incredible for our club to be able to attract a player of his quality who is truly entering the prime of his career," Galaxy general manager Peter Vagenas said in a statement. "It is a massive statement for our club. We’ve been firm in our attempt to target these types of players, and with Romain, we absolutely got our No. 1 target.”

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Van Damme, meanwhile, enjoyed a stellar first season in MLS, finishing as runner-up for MLS Defender of the Year and second runner-up for Newcomer of the Year while anchoring the back line.

"Jelle showed last season that he is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer,” Vagenas said. “His contract will still give us the flexibility to bolster our roster during the summer. He is a leader, a winner and a competitor and will continue to be a centerpiece along our backline."

The Galaxy's makeover also includes the addition of U.S. international Jermaine Jones, while the likes of Landon Donovan, Keane, Gerrard, AJ DeLaGarza, Alan Gordon and the entire coaching staff have moved on.

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