The LA Galaxy pulled off a blockbuster in prying Mexican international Jonathan dos Santos from La Liga side Villarreal. A stunning transfer from the standpoint that the in-form 27-year-old left a fifth place squad in Spain’s first division that was also qualified for the Europa League.
There is no comparison that Spain’s top flight is a much better competition than MLS boasting world-renowned players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Antoine Griezmann. The quality of La Liga is incomparable to football here in the states which makes the dos Santos move monumental for Los Angeles and the league.
Dos Santos came off a fantastic Confederations Cup with Mexico making the best XI in the entire tournament. His high energy on the pitch and his relentless pursuit of the ball helped El Tri to a fourth place finish. Dos Santos fit perfectly in Juan Carlos Osorio’s possession based scheme as his technical ability, vision, and crisp passing was on full display.
The versatility of the Mexican is another positive for the Galaxy as he can be deployed anywhere in the midfield as ESPN’s Tom Marshall explained to the LA Galaxy Insider:
Dos Santos is intense, technically very gifted and has a high level of on-field intelligence. The traits drilled into youngsters at Barcelona’s La Masia can be found in Dos Santos’ game.
For Mexico of late, Dos Santos has played in a more advanced role on the right of a midfield trio in a 4-3-3 formation. That’s slightly different to his role at Villarreal, where the 27-year-old predominantly featured as a right midfielder in a 4-4-2 over the last couple of seasons.
For a Galaxy midfield that has been hit hard with injuries, dos Santos will solidify the center of the field and improve ball movement. Numerous times Los Angeles’ midfield attempted to control possession but consistently ended up giving the ball away easily. The Mexican will fix that immediately plus his play making ability will help create spaces for the Galaxy’s attacking options.
Dos Santos’ presence in the midfield will free up playmakers like Romain Alessandrini, Ema Boateng, Gyasi Zardes and Giovani dos Santos. ‘Jona’ will be another player MLS teams have to account for which in turn reduce his new teammates tight coverage.
As the club’s third designated player, a solid foundation has been set with all three DP’s under the age of 30 and still in their prime. Alessandrini leads the team in goals (8) and assists (8) with Los Angeles’ No. 10 being second with six goals of his own.
In addition, the fact that the Mexican press is upset that dos Santos left Europe for the MLS shows the degree of where they hold the Mexican international in terms of his quality. His outstanding play with the national team certainly was worthy of him landing with a more high-profile squad in Europe.
Nevertheless, the younger dos Santos made the move to Los Angeles reportedly spurning 12-time Liga MX champions Club America showing that ‘Jona’ wanted to be here with the five-time MLS Cup champions. He will be eager to help the Galaxy climb out of the ninth spot in the Western Conference and into the playoffs.
Los Angeles has endured a tough season this campaign marred by injuries but now the club is starting to get healthy again. A few weeks back the club recovered Daniel Steres and Jermaine Jones from the disabled list. Zardes also is coming into form as he returned from international duty with the United States. And finally, a more experienced head coach has taken over the Galaxy.
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