Steve Carrillo

Official: Jonathan dos Santos is LA Galaxy’s Third Designated Player

It’s official. The LA Galaxy have signed Jonathan dos Santos as their third Designated Player. Jonathan dos Santos will occupy a Designated Player slot, meaning the Galaxy have successfully paid down Jelle Van Damme DP salary with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). This was informally announced as an option earlier this year when Van Damme was named as a DP.

Still not answered is how the Galaxy have managed to open up that international slot. We’re waiting on that explanation.

Regardless, the Galaxy get a seasoned midfielder with the ability to play box-to-box. His addition should allow the club a more fluid attack going forward and a better partnership in the middle of the field – an area the Galaxy have needed help with since the beginning of the season.

He’s expected to make over $2 million per year with the Galaxy and there was a $5.8 million dollar transfer fee that was paid to Villarreal – a number, that at one point last year, was estimated at between $15 and $20 million dollars.

“Jonathan is a quality player that we think instantly becomes a top midfielder in Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas. “His signing will significantly improve our team as we continue to push for the playoffs and, ultimately, a sixth MLS Cup. We believe Jonathan will be a leader during the second half of this season and for years to come. We look forward to him joining our squad.”

Jonathan dos Santos will join his brother Giovani dos Santos as, for the first time in Major League Soccer history, two brothers have become DP’s on the same team.

At 27 years of age, Jonathan dos Santos still has a lot of soccer to play and should lock up the Galaxy’s big-name players for years to come.

“Jonathan is an excellent midfielder with a wide range of technical abilities,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “He can fit into our lineup at a number of different positions and improve our team in multiple ways. He still has his best years of playing in front of him and we are excited to add him to our team.”

Jonathan dos Santos will not be available to play against the Seattle Sounders this Saturday as he waits for his P-1 visa and his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).


According to reports from and Ives Galarcep, the LA Galaxy have completed a transfer for Villarreal midfielder, Jonathan dos Santos. The transfer fee is reportedly worth $5 million dollars and Jonathan dos Santos’ salary is expected to be within the $2-3 million dollar range.

He’s expected to be announced by the club on Thursday of this week and, according to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times, has a deal in place.

It’s Expected that all the paperwork will be done by Wednesday and for everything else to quickly fall into place – That includes medicals and International Transfer Certificates (ITC). Although his ITC will probably mean he isn’t available for selection this coming weekend.

He’ll join his brother, Giovani dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini as the Galaxy’s third designated player after they buy down Jelle Van Damme’s contract from DP to a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) player.

The Galaxy will also need to open up an international slot, which isn’t expected to be an issue.

Both Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos were in Los Angeles, along with their father Zizinho, attending to their soccer camp. And now that both brothers seem to be rooted to the city, there seems to be a reason to continue to hold those soccer camps just up the street from their stadium.

For the Galaxy, this ends a saga that saw them chase after world super star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, flirt with André-Pierre Gignac, and finally find, and perhaps settle, with Jonathan dos Santos – a talented box-to-box midfielder who could begin to sew this fragmented Galaxy team back together.

No official announcement, nor comment, has been made by the club, but something later this week wouldn’t be out of line for these types of situations.

Original Story Below

Reports are starting to come in that Villarreal midfielder Jonathan dos Santos – brother of Giovani dos Santos – could be on his way to the LA Galaxy.

ESPN’s Taylor Twellman tweeted out that the Galaxy was “currently negotiating” with the player to bring him to Los Angeles “to be their 3rd DP…”

In addition, El Periodico Mediterraneo says that a deal seems to be in place for Villarreal to accept the transfer fee from the Galaxy and that the club has already arranged for Pablo Fornals to join their club as a replacement. This would allow Jonathan dos Santos to join Giovani dos Santos in Los Angeles and bring the two brothers back together again – as they once were at Villarreal.

The Galaxy, according to the report, would be on the hook for a $5.8 to $6.9 million dollar transfer fee (according to my English translation).

Jonathan dos Santos has apparently been given a few more days to get the deal done by Villarreal and did not train with the club.

Giovani dos Santos is currently making $5.5 million per year according to numbers released by the MLS Players Union. It would stand to reason, that the Galaxy would probably be on the hook for at least that much if Johnathan dos Santos were to join the club.

This deal had some legs when we originally wrote about it back in January. But it seemed to have stalled out on during negotiations around  Jonathan Dos Santos’ buyout clause. So when his name came up again, during the fury of reports about Zlatan Ibrahimovic it was as if the Galaxy were trying to secure a solid backup plan in case the deal with Ibrahimovic fell through. With the monster deal less likely to get done, or perhaps just taking too long for the likes of the Galaxy front office, Jonathan dos Santos now seems to be their main target.

But that would also leave the Galaxy with a plethora of midfielders. Gyasi Zardes, Emmanuel Boateng, Jermaine Jones, Sebastian Lletget, João Pedro, Romain Alessandrini, Rafa Garcia, and Baggio Husidic all fill in at different positions along the midfield. Even Giovani dos Santos can play in the midfield. So when you start moving pieces around – and yes, there are a bunch of injuries to that group right now – talented and/or expensive players end up on the bench.

The other reason to hit “pause” on this deal would be that Zizinho, the Dos Santos brother’s father, would be in a position to control more of the team than anyone should feel comfortable with. He’s been known to threaten the Mexican National Team with not playing either of his boys if they don’t call them both up. A threat that could find its way towards a Galaxy front office that is no position to fight back.

But the Galaxy are also in need of real creativity, a solid presence in the midfield, and someone other teams have to focus on. With Giovani dos Santos playing a disappearing game through large parts of this season, most opposing teams have taken to worrying about Alessandrini. But if you add Jonathan dos Santos to that mix – with the ability to spark his brother’s goal production – the Galaxy might find they have more attacking options than they thought.

And when the head coach is moving life-long left back Ashley Cole into the midfield for his distribution, then you understand why the thinking in the front office might be that getting a very good midfielder into the conversation will help this team.

One thing is for sure, the potential signing of Jonathan Dos Santos should finally end a debate at whether the midfield has caused the striker to be poor or if the strikers are just poor. Because all the focus seemed to be on finding a top caliber striker before the Jonathan dos Santos rumors started to swirl.