Could Bruce Arena be headed back to the LA Galaxy?
If a report from Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre is to be trusted, the club is pondering that exact question.
The Galaxy, according to McIntyre, have had several conversations with potential front-office suitors – with Arena said to be among them — and have been searching for someone since September when the club parted ways with Sigi Schmid.
Arena’s name clearly is the biggest of those that has leaked so far, although his association with the team he helped manage to three MLS Cups from 2009 to 2015 shouldn’t come as a surprise. But in this case, it’s not an on-the-field position he’s looking at.
Arena could be in line for a new position as either president of soccer operations (Pete Vagenas currently sits as vice president of soccer operations) or general manager, something the Galaxy currently don’t have.
Former Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant, the current general manager of USL side Sacramento Republic, also was mentioned in McIntyre’s report.
Dunivant, who retired in 2015 after 307 league appearances, more than 24,000 minutes and five MLS Cups, would offer a younger and sexier look for the five-time MLS Cup champions. Dunivant certainly fits the bill for the Galaxy, who have had a tendency to gravitate toward former players. Galaxy President Chris Klein, Technical Director Jovan Kirovski and Vagenas, for example, all formerly played for the club.
Dunivant already has proven himself a skilled team builder in winning an NASL Championship with the San Francisco Deltas in their first and only season and pushing Sacramento up the standings in the USL’s Western Conference. The Republic finished eighth in 2017 and then second in this year’s regular season.
Another option, if the Galaxy felt particularly bold, would be a two-fold hire of Dunivant as general manager and Arena as president of soccer operations. That would allow Dunivant and Arena to work in concert with Klein.
The Galaxy are scrambling to find solutions to their front office issues, and any wasted time could impact their on-the-field performances as well.
What does seem fairly obvious, however, is if the Galaxy adds more front-office personnel, it would appear one or two of the current staff members won’t be staying around.
It seems unlikely that Kurt Schmid, director of player personnel and scouting, will remain with the club. It also seems logical either Kirovski or Vagenas will depart to free up roles for those who currently are being interviewed.
All indications are interim head coach Dominic Kinnear won’t be considered for any position. His name has been mentioned among general manager candidates, but it probably doesn’t raise the Galaxy’s profile high enough for the current administration to go in that direction.
Kinnear, however, might be most deserving of a continued role with the club after taking the Galaxy to the verge of a playoff berth before last Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo officially eliminated them from post-season contention.
The Galaxy not only need to name a head coach as well and start making roster decisions for 2019, but they also must take care of none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
If the Swedish standout really is demanding more money and therefore one of three designated player spots, the club must figure out how to free up such a spot.
Frenchman Romain Alessandrini could be departing, with the Montreal Impact rumored to be in pursuit. But any move for the Galaxy that doesn’t involve Giovani dos Santos is going to be a public relations nightmare.
Alessandrini, however, is one of the team’s most popular players and has acted as a team spokesman in some testy situations when front-office personnel wasn’t available.
It will be anything but an off-season for the Galaxy, and the slower they deal with these impending decisions the more likely it will affect their 2019 season.
And the club definitely can’t afford that kind of a headache.