With only a month until the 2023 MLS season kickoff, a lot has happened in the Black and Gold transfer window. Players have come, some have left, and others have retired. The last month and a half has been very active for the club, here’s a brief update on everything that has happened within the club.
In the last month and a half we have seen around 4 players leaving LAFC, Jhegson Mendes, Franco Escobar, Latif Blessing and the retirement of Gareth Bale. Escobar and Mendes were free agents and moved to Houston Dynamo and São Paulo respectively. Blessing was transferred to New England for about $400,000 in allocation money. A move that was sad to see but not surprising. It was a move that it was foreseen. It was said Blessing wanted a fresh start and it was more of a personal decision. After scoring the tying goal and winning MLS Cup and playing the World Cup with his country, Gareth Bale decided to hang up the boots and retired from football. A decision that was surprising for the club, as they expected him to join preseason.
With every new season comes new faces, specially when you look to repeat last year’s success. This year, the club has added about four new faces like goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. With Maxime Crepeau’s injury during MLS Cup last season, the club needed a new goalkeeper, as John McCarthy was the only first team goal keeper available. Forward Stipe Buik left Croatia’s Hajduk Split and signed to a four-year contract through 2026 as a U222. Denil Maldonado from Honduras also joined on loan from club Motagua with an option to buy. Defender Aaron Long also left the NY Red Bulls as a free agent and joined the Black and Gold, returning to his home state California.
Nothing has been set In stone when it comes to who could come into the club. The club is constantly making moves, specially now that they’ll have a DP spot now with Bale retired. But we could see more departures in the upcoming weeks. Lots of rumors of maybe Cifuentes leaving the club for Europe and there has been a lot of talk about Cristian Arango wanting a better contract, even if it means in another MLS club. Two moves that would be very significant for the club. But it is certain that whoever leaves, the club will do its best to bring someone else just as competitive to replace them. It’ll be interesting to see who arrives for that potential 3rd DP spot.