The LA Galaxy have bought out Giovani Dos Santos's contract, cutting the player loose in order to get to the maximum amount of three Designated Players, the club announced on Friday.
The Dos Santos issue stemmed from the Galaxy having four DPs for three allotted roster spots. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not a DP a season ago, signing on a discounted deal, but he's making a reported $7.2 million this season, getting a significant increase along with the bump to DP status. With Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan Dos Santos also both on DP deals, that created a situation of surplus that needed to be sorted out prior to Friday's MLS roster compliance deadline.
The Galaxy couldn't simply pay down the 29-year-old Giovani Dos Santos's budget charge–nor could they do the same with Alessandrini or Jonathan Dos Santos–with Targeted Allocation Money, because the salary figures were too high and exceed the maximum of $1.5 million. Giovani Dos Santos's salary, according to the most recent MLS Players Association documents, was $6 million in guaranteed compensation. Jonathan Dos Santos's was $2 million, while Alessandrini was at $1.8 million.
In order for him to lose his DP designation, he would have either needed to completely restructure his contract and take a massive paycut, which would have been seriously frowned upon by the MLSPA and set a dangerous example, or be bought out or traded outright.
According to MLS rules, "a club may buy out one player who has a Guaranteed Contract (including a Designated Player’s) during the offseason and free up the corresponding Salary Budget space. Such a buyout is at the club's expense."
The Galaxy have taken that course and are now not in danger of being noncompliant ahead of Saturday's season opener vs. the Chicago Fire. How this impacts Jonathan Dos Santos, Giovani's younger brother by a year, remains to be seen. In comments made after the end of last season, Jonathan stated, "We always talk about it; we want to make history with this club. God willing and next year will be good for the both of us. We want to lift the Galaxy from where it's at now."
That'll be possible for only one of them now.
“We have been working with the player this preseason to reach an agreement that is best for both sides,” Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said in a statement. “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.”
In his three and a half years in MLS after arriving from Villarreal in July 2015, Giovani Dos Santos had 26 goals and 22 assists in 77 games. His 2018 was hampered by injuries, though he made Juan Carlos Osorio's Mexico roster for the World Cup. His best season came in 2016, when he had 14 goals and 12 assists.
The move comes on the heels of the Galaxy's sale of star forward Ola Kamara to China's Shenzhen FC. The two transactions could open up more playing time for 16-year-old rising star Efrain Alvarez, whom Ibrahimovic publicly lauded in recent days.