Will the signing of Aleksandar Katai, mean saying goodbye to Romain Alessandrini?
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy have added another piece to the puzzle just hours before their 2019 comes to an end. As first reported by Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times, the Galaxy have signed 28-year-old Serbian midfielder Aleksandar Katai using Targeted Allocation Money.
Katai, who played for the Chicago Fire for the past two seasons amassing over 4,500 minutes and adding 18 goals and 12 assists, is a talented player who will be a starter at one of the wing positions for the Galaxy this season. Playing opposite of Cristian Pavon could lead the duo to support the eventual striker or strikers the Galaxy sign.
“Aleksandar is a proven attacking threat who will be an important piece on our team,” Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in a club press release. “In addition to his success playing in Europe, he has shown his quality in Major League Soccer since he joined in 2018.”
Born in Srbobran, Serbia, in 1991, Katai has earned nine international caps for his career. He’s played at multiple European clubs (Alavés, Red Star Belgrade, F.K. Vojvodina, Olympiacos F.C., Platanias F.C.) before departing for MLS and has had success in almost every league he’s played — including eight appearances across the Champions League and Europa League qualifiers.
Capable of scoring with both feet, good at picking out attackers with crosses, and valuable on either the left side or right side of the midfield, he’s a versatile piece on a team that will want to play to the strengths of Pavon.
But Katai’s signing also puts the nail in the coffin of Romain Alessandrini. Alessandrini — also capable of playing on either side of the midfield — will be out of contract as soon as the calendar switches to 2020. His injury-filled 2019 probably forced the Galaxy’s hand, and now Katai will be his replacement.
Katai is younger than Alessandrini, seemingly healthier than Alessandrini, more than likely cheaper than Alessandrini (Katai made over $1.38M in 2019 with Chicago while Alessandrini made just shy of $2M with the Galaxy in 2019), and is capable of playing in much the same capacity.
Whether any of that will pan out in 2020 for the Galaxy is obviously up for discussion. From the club perspective, Katai is a suitable replacement. From the fan’s point of view, his solid reputation probably doesn’t send supporters flocking to buy more tickets. But seasons are won and lost with signings such as these.
But for a Galaxy team that is looking to mold itself into something that head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto can play with, Katai is another piece to the puzzle for the club.
And with rumors of two more defenders close to signing with the club, the Galaxy could be very close to solidifying their starting lineup. That’s, of course, if they can find a striker for this team.
You can track all of the Galaxy’s offseason moves on the CoG Offseason Tracker (Click Here).
TRANSACTION: LA Galaxy sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai using Targeted Allocation Money. Katai will occupy an International Slot.