Insúa joins the Galaxy as defensive focus intensifies

CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy have made it clear that they’re going to focus on fixing a porous defense that allowed 59 goals last year. And to that end, the club announced the signing of Argentine defender Emiliano Insúa.

Insúa did not cost the Galaxy any TAM and will be added to the roster pending his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and his P-1 Visa. And by the omission of any specific MLS signing mechanism, his salary will fall below the 2020 Max Budget charge estimated at around $550,000 (2019 Max Budget Charge of $530K).

Insúa is a well-traveled left-back for a 30-year-old. He’s played for teams in England, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. And his stops include Liverpool, Galatasaray, Sporting CP, Atletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, and finally VfB Stuttgart.

“Emiliano is an experienced defender who has played for decorated clubs throughout the world,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese. “We think he will boost our team on the defensive side and will add a veteran presence to our club. We are glad to add Emiliano to our team and are excited that he will represent the LA Galaxy.”

But with the addition of Insúa, the writing is clearly on the wall for Norwegian defender Jorgen Skjelvik who surprisingly had another year left on his contract after another disappointing season last year for the Galaxy. Skjelvik’s mediocre defense and his expensive price tag mean the 28-year-old’s time with the club is extremely limited.

With Insúa the likely starter, waiver draft pick-up Danilo Acosta (who hasn’t been placed on the Galaxy’s roster yet but is expected to be there when the team kicks off in 2020), and LA Galaxy II prospect, Diedie Traore, all ready to play, the left-back position has plenty of depth. Skjelvik is simply on the outside looking in with his $1-million salary.

The Galaxy’s new left-back seems more than willing to move forward — very much in the style of Guillermo Barros Schelotto — and should be a good provider on offense. The fact he’s played at so many big-named clubs gives him more than enough pedigree to trust in his ability to defend, as well.

Insúa, however, is not the last defender rumored to be placed on the roster with the Galaxy apparently still in talks with Carlos Zambrano. The 30-year-old Peruvian center back would be an interesting add since his recent move to Dynamo Kyiv doesn’t seem to be working out.

The Galaxy will need to manage these last couple of signings carefully. With 19 players signed to the roster (out of 30 total spots) and all eight International Slots currently occupied, there are sure to be some subtractions before some other additions can land in LA. And the Galaxy can always buy additional international slots if other teams aren’t using them as they did in 2019.

The Galaxy have already re-signed Sebastian Lletget and Daniel Steres and signed Free Agents Sasha Kljestan, and Aleksandar Katai in what should still be a busy offseason for the club.

The Galaxy will open training camp on January 20 before kicking the season off on February 29 against the Houston Dynamo.