The LA Galaxy have signed Norwegian defender Jorgen Skjelvik, it was confirmed today.
The 26-year-old, primarily a left-footed center back, will move to the Galaxy on a free transfer from Norwegian side Rosenborg BK, which he joined in 2013. He made 163 appearances with the club and totaled six goals and 13 assists.
His move to the Galaxy is a welcome sign for a team that allowed a franchise-record 67 goals in 2017 and finished with an 8-18-8 record, not only the worst in Major League Soccer but the worst in franchise history.
Terms of the deal weren’t released, but Skjelvik is expected to become one of the highest-paid defenders in MLS. New England’s Claude Dielna currently holds that position with a yearly salary of $909,861, according to figures supplied by the league’s players union.
Skjlevik is expected to pair with French central defender Michael Ciani, who was acquired last year after Belgian Jelle Van Damme departed the Galaxy for personal reasons.
Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, and Ashley Cole potentially could be moving aside for the talented defender, just as they did when Van Damme first signed with the Galaxy.
The 6-foot Skjelvik, like Van Damme, is a defender who is capable of getting into the attack and could be dangerous on set-piece defending and set-piece scoring chances. Van Damme thrived in both areas.
The Norwegian international spent time at various levels for his country, including the U18, U19, U21 and U23 teams, before making his senior team debut in November, 2013.
Skjelvik most recently appeared in an international friendly against Slovakia on Nov. 14, when he played 45 minutes in a 1-0 loss. Norway failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which means the Galaxy should be able to keep him stateside during a time when other players could be missing because of the tournament.
With an influx of targeted allocation money (TAM) — up to $4 million per year over the next two years – Skjelvik’s price tag shouldn’t hurt the Galaxy, who are in the midst of a major rebuild.
The Galaxy report for preseason training on Jan. 22 at StubHub Center and Skjelvik is expected to be there. He should arrive in the United States as soon as his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate are obtained.