Gabriel Pec breaks records for the Galaxy as Los Angeles finally receives what appears to be a real dose of Brazilian flair. Despite being close to filling all of their DP spots, an important figure within the team feels there is still much work to be done
Bem-vindo a la era do Pec!
On Tuesday, January 31, the Los Angeles Galaxy announced the transfer of Gabriel Pec from Brazilian Seria A side Vasco de Gama. Pec joins the Galaxy for a club-record $10M plus a potential $1.5M in incentives on a 5-year deal through to the end of 2028. Vasco retain 30% of Pec’s future sale price (Vasco will receive 20% and Pec will receive 10%).
The 22-year-old winger hasn’t arrived for preseason just yet as he has been playing for Brazil in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers. So far this tournament, Pec has three assists in one start and two substitute appearances for the Seleção. Pre-Olympic qualifiers run until February 11th and Brazil is expected to compete until the very end. As Galaxy Nation previously reported, Pec will report to Dignity Health Sports Park for his physical and first glamour shots in the club’s new kit after qualifiers.
Gabriel Pec is touted to be one of the most exciting prospects for the future of Brazil’s senior team.
He has made an impact on coaches, teammates, and supporters by pairing an impressive work rate on the pitch with an even more impressive personality off of it. When the signing was announced, Head Coach Greg Vanney waxed lyrical about his new Young Designated Player, “We love his speed, his power, his relentless work rate, his willingness to defend, and we love that he’s playing for the front of the goal.” Pec appears to have many of the traits that Vanney’s attack has been missing.
Not satisfied with one DP, the LA Galaxy is quietly working on adding a third to complement Riqui Puig and Gabriel Pec.
Joseph Paintsil has been the name on everybody’s mind since January 17th, when the Galaxy submitted an offer to Genk in the amount of the player’s $8.5M release clause. Since then, the release clause has expired, leading multiple outlets to report that negotiations have died. However, the lack of new targets from the Galaxy suggests that simply isn’t true.
Corner of the Galaxy‘s sources have confirmed that while the release clause did expire two weeks ago, Genk and the Galaxy have spent the time since negotiating a transfer. While the final transfer fee will exceed the original $8.5M offer, the fact that the Galaxy haven’t walked away as they did with CA Talleres and River Plate suggests that Genk’s expectations are much more reasonable.
Despite all the conjecture, this rumor is still very much alive. To help, distinguish speculation from fact, here are all the statements made by the most relevant parties.
Just one day after it was reported that the Galaxy submitted an offer for Paintsil, Will Kuntz shared some words in his first press conference of the season. He was confident in saying, “We’re very close with one DP target (Gabriel Pec, now official) and I think in a very good way with our second, or what would be our third DP.”
With the lack of new rumors, it becomes clear that Kuntz was referring to Paintsil here. While this could simply have been a general manager saying something positive to encourage their fanbase, a conversation I had with a Galaxy staff member leads me to believe that Kuntz’s words hold much more weight than that.
Will Kuntz has made a point to share as little about transfers as possible with the vast majority of people at DHSP. Typically, this is done in consideration of the extreme sensitivity that accompanies most transfers. For Kuntz to say something that so unequivocally suggests that the deal with Paintsil is close suggests a very high level of confidence in the deal’s solidity.
On January 23rd, Dutch sports site Sporza revealed that Genk manager Wouter Vrancken has already begun planning the season without Daniel Muñoz, Gerardo Arteaga, and Joseph Paintsil. Genk was able to sell and replace Daniel Muñoz and Gerardo Arteaga before the European transfer market closed today, February 1st. Although the birthday boy remains on Genks’ roster for now, these reports suggest that the club and manager have stopped counting on Paintsil’s continued presence.
Considering that as recently as January 20th Vrancken was boasting about a positive text message he received from the player, it looks extremely likely that negotiations between the Paintsil and the Galaxy have reached a point from which Genk deems there is no return and they are better off preparing for his departure.
Lastly (and maybe most interestingly), Joseph Paintsil himself has spoken about his goals and feelings regarding his future. This is the first time Painstil has spoken about a transfer since the most recent summer window when he rejected advances from recently relegated sides Leeds United and Southhampton FC.
When asked about why the move to England fell through, Paintsil answered honestly, “Look, every player has certain expectations. My dream is to one day play in the Premier League, or at least in a top-five European league.” The Ghanaian made it abundantly clear then that his ambitions consisted of playing for at minimum a mid-table side in a top league, rather than scrapping it out in the lower tiers. Although purely speculative, it may be likely that Paintsil decided to remain in Genk and wait for a more attractive offer to appear after another few months of great football in Belgium.
It’s also likely that Paintsil decided to wait for another option in Europe to appear after receiving the Galaxy’s offer. While many Galaxy supporters may feel slighted that he didn’t jump at the opportunity to join their team, it is important to take a moment and put oneself in Paintsil’s shoes.
Paintsil is now 26 years old and at the tail end of his prime years. After spending the last 6 seasons proving himself with Genk with the goal of playing for one of Europe’s elite, any move that breaks away from this lifelong dream would require careful consideration. This is especially true when debating leaving a Champions League team for one who just finished 13th in their MLS conference.
Fortunately, it appears that the LA Galaxy have been quietly flexing all of their recruitment muscles to Paintsil and the player has been impressed enough to consider a move outside of the traditional top-five leagues. In his latest presser, Paintsil asserted, “Everyone wants to play in the Premier League or in the Spanish league, but that’s not for everyone. If something comes your way, and it’s a good club, you have to accept that, and keep going”.
As the transfer window in Europe ends, so too do Paintsil’s chances of receiving any new offers from a European team until the summer. As it stands, the Galaxy’s offer is the only one on the Ghanain’s desk.
When the Paintsill rumor was first announced, the Galaxy could practically ignore Genk and focus on convincing Paintsil to make the jump to MLS. Now the situation has flipped. Paintsil seems ready to accept the move, but with the expiry of the release clause, his future is back in Genk’s hands. The LA Galaxy have spent the last two weeks negotiating with the Belgian club, suggesting the deal has been worth pursuing.
The Los Angeles Galaxy is a team with options that is looking to complete the first phase of their rebuild. Whether or not Paintsil joins, the Galaxy is prepared to add their third designated player this window. However, having spent so long on negotiations without moving on, it feels like Paintsil may be closer to Carson than Limburg at this point.
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PHOTO: LA Galaxy