The LA Galaxy has set the pace for 2024 with a fast start. One week into the year they’ve signed a starter, a great depth piece for an important position, and have made an offer for a Brazilian starlet. Let’s peek into Kuntz’s kitchen and find out how close the Galaxy may be to signing a new Designated Player.

Happy New Year, Galaxy fans! After a slow end to 2023 and what seemed to be an even slower start to 2024, many supporters have started the year feeling uneasy about the Galaxy’s future. 

As everyone’s timelines became filled with the news of other clubs making their squads stronger, the LA Galaxy didn’t share any updates right away. Fans began expressing their unease with the club’s apparent lack of action.


While it may have been too early for any genuine concern, it is worth remembering that it wasn’t long ago that the LA Galaxy panic-signed Douglas Costa in late February after not landing their primary targets. Although the Galaxy’s current front office seems more capable of avoiding such a failure, they will have to prove it with signings before earning the supporter’s trust. 

Will Kuntz would make great strides in this regard on Friday, January 5th when the club announced the signings of right-back Miki Yamane from Kawasaki Frontale and free-agent goalkeeper John McCarthy.

The Yamane transfer was first broken by Japanese media outlet Sponichi Annex at around 1:00 PM Pacific time on Friday. The Galaxy’s official announcement would come later, confirming that Yamane had been signed on a three-year deal through to the end of 2026.

This was one of the Galaxy’s earliest rumors of the window, covered by Galaxy Nation on the first installment of Kuntz’s Kitchen. Yamane was Will Kuntz’s first transfer target as General Manager of the LA Galaxy, and he would have to work hard to secure the player. 

Japanese reporting reveals that conversations for Yamane began back on December, 9th, 2023. Shortly after starting talks, Kuntz would share on Corner of the Galaxy Podcast that he had traveled to Japan to personally scout the player.

It took nearly a month of negotiation and lots of travel but Kuntz did successfully acquire his first-choice player. Yamane will likely become the Galaxy’s starting right back, filling an important role in the roster that had been vacant since Calegari’s return to Fluminense. 

After settling the right-back situation, the Galaxy made an announcement that made their goalkeeper situation much less clear.

 On Friday, January 5th it was announced that the LA Galaxy had signed free agent John McCarthy to a two-year deal until the end of 2025. McCarthy was named the 2022 MLS Cup MVP for his heroics in the final that won the title for LAFC.

Jonathan Bond has been the main man since joining the club in 2021. His current contract runs until the end of 2024 and sees him earning $475k per year. He has continued to start in most games, but he did share some minutes with his understudy in 2023. 

Novak Mićović impressed with the time he was afforded and established himself as the better distributor of the ball between himself and Bond. With Bond underperforming relative to his earnings in the opinion of many Galaxy supporters, there is a feeling that Mićović should be given the starting role in 2024.  

With McCarthy on the roster, the LA Galaxy now have three starting-quality keepers competing for the number one spot. If all three remain at the start of 2024, whoever the starter is will be in the hot seat and under constant pressure to perform, hopefully raising the bar for Galaxy keepers.

With so many goalies and other positions needing further attention, another likely scenario is that the Galaxy sells one of them. Having just signed McCarthy and having just paid $1 million to exercise the permanent transfer option on Mićović for 2024, Bond is the only candidate for departure.

Joshua Guesman explored this option in the last episode of Corner of the Galaxy Podcast, claiming, “This signing with John McCarthy is a lot bigger for this reason: It now signals, I believe, to everybody else in MLS, that Jonathan Bond is for sale”. Kuntz could be looking to sell Bond and get rid of one of the club’s heaviest contracts. 

Selling Bond would offer the Galaxy flexibility, an extremely valuable trait for Kuntz as he looks to continue building up the squad. After securing the backend of the pitch, Kuntz continues to look for a young winger.

In Galaxy Nation’s last piece, Money Talks, we examined the offers for Ramón Sosa from CA Talleres and Pablo Solari from River Plate and broke down the LA Galaxy’s transfer strategy. The club submitted offers for two players of extremely similar profiles to prove that they do not lack options and will not be pushed into overpaying for attacking players. The latest developments show that this strategy is beginning to pay dividends for LA. 

Learn more about the Galaxy’s transfer strategy here

On Saturday, January 6th, Paraguayan journalist Bruno Pont shared that the Galaxy has ended negotiations with Talleres for Ramón Sosa as a result of the player’s high price. Many supporters were dying to see the Galaxy hand over the $15 million fee the Argentine club was demanding, but as we suggested they would last week, the club decided they were happy to move on to the next player on their list rather than overpay. 

Earlier that Saturday, Brazilian outlet GE Globo broke the story that the LA Galaxy had made an official bid for Vasco’s 22-year-old winger Gabriel Pec. Brazilian journalist Venê Casagrande would soon confirm that the Galaxy’s offer was around $10.5 million. It was initially reported by Thiago Fernandez for Goal BR that Vasco was pleased by the offer and was likely to accept it.

This rumor has seemed to be on fire since it was first reported. Since then, the heat has only gotten more real as this morning Lucas Tanaka broke the news that Gabriel Pec has accepted the Galaxy’s proposal. The Galaxy has reportedly offered Pec a salary close to 2.5 times greater than his current $156k/year salary with Vasco. 

With the player’s terms agreed, all that remains is for both clubs to agree on the final details. With the initial reports suggesting that Vasco is already quite content with the Galaxy’s offer, the last area of contention that remains is the player’s rights.

Vasco owns 90% of Gabriel Pec’s rights, with the player himself owning 10%. According to Vasco news outlet News Colina, Vasco wants to keep 20% of the player’s rights for the deal to go through. Whether or not the Galaxy is open to paying $10.5 million for 70% of a player’s rights remains to be seen.

The expectation is that both clubs will work towards making this deal go through. If signed, Gabriel Pec would a considered a Young DP. A notable fact is that Pec would not be available for the Galaxy until February 11th as he will be with Brazil for the Olympic Qualifiers, as reported by Alex Ruiz.

These are the latest updates for the LA Galaxy’s transfer window. Be sure to follow Nuestra Galaxia Fútbolera on X and Instagram to stay informed on all the incoming signings. Subscribe to LAX Sports Nation and follow us on social media to enhance your fan experience.

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