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Brittany Campbell

Pavon returns to Galaxy and becomes Designated Player

CARSON, Calif. — Cristian Pavon will be staying in Los Angeles for at least another season. The LA Galaxy officially announced the expected contract extension for the 23-year-old forward today, meaning that Pavon’s three goals and eight assists in just 11 games last season will be back in 2020.

But more important than the announcement was also expected proclamation that Pavon would be occupying a Designated Player for the upcoming season (Note: Pavon will also occupy one of eight International spots for the 2020 season).

The Argentine will turn 24 before the new season begins so he wouldn’t qualify for a young DP slot. But his salary — estimated at $1.2-million on an annual basis by the MLS Players Association — plus the loan amount (not disclosed) push Pavon above the threshold for both a regular roster spot and more than TAM can buy down. This is a change from the 2019 season where Pavon’s loan was free and the Galaxy were burdened with just the salary component of the deal.

Pavon was always expected to continue on loan this season, and the original deal with his owning club – Argentina’s Boca Juniors – puts in an option to purchase the player by at the end of the 2020 season. And while some reports have put that purchase number close to $20-million, we’ve been told that it’s actually a much lower number should the Galaxy wish to buy him.

But with Pavon occupying the DP slot that Zlatan Ibrahimovic just vacated last week, the Galaxy, as they’re currently constructed, don’t have any open DP spots.

Jonathan dos Santos is under contract for the next two seasons, Pavon is under contract now through 2020, and Romain Alessandrini occupies the last spot.

And it’s Alessandrini where the Galaxy will focus their attention as they look to build a complete roster for the upcoming season.

Alessandrini, who missed 29 games in 2019, but did make a good option off the bench in the MLS Cup Playoffs, is out of contract this year. And with Dennis te Kloese and Guillermo Barros Schelotto both singing his praises during his long injury absence, the 30-year-old French National could be in line for a contract extension that would reduce his salary to below the DP level. And should the league continue with Targeted Allocation Money or any allocation money — a new CBA is being negotiated before the 2020 season — Alessandrini would likely fall into that level of spending and be made even more attractive by the possibility of getting a green card this offseason.

The rumors say the Galaxy are interested in Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, who currently plays in France for Paris Saint-Germain. But with a price tag that seems unusually high for such a player, that rumor could go away.

The trick, for the Galaxy, is to get Alessandrini bought down to a reasonable rate while taking into account his lengthy injury history and his age.

If the Galaxy can keep Alessandrini — get him healthy — and then bring in another world-class DP, they’d have a great core to base the rest of the team around.

With Pavon’s loan extension and his DP status the first step in a busy offseason, don’t be surprised if the Alessandrini drama takes center stage for the next few weeks.


Transaction: LA Galaxy pick up the option to extend the loan of forward Cristian Pavon through the 2020 MLS Regular Season. Pavon will occupy a Designated Player and International roster spot on the LA Galaxy’s 2020 roster.

  • Name: Cristian Pavón
  • Position: Forward
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight:  143 lbs.
  • Born: January 21, 1996
  • Age: 23
  • Last Club: Boca Juniors
  • Birthplace: Anisacate, Argentina
  • Hometown: Anisacate, Argentina
  • Nationality: Argentina

NOTE: Follow along with our Off-Season Tracker to find out all the moves the Galaxy have made and what rumors could give us a hint at what the Galaxy are looking for (CLICK HERE)