Replacing Kevin Cabral at left wing.
It’s 2023 and the Los Angeles Galaxy are once looking for a player on the left wing as they were in 2020. They’ve recently announced the signing of Tyler Boyd from Besiktas to replace Samuel Grandsir, but the departure of young designated player (YDP) Kevin Cabral has not been addressed yet. It would appear that the Galaxy could go in a few directions for a left winger: YDP, TAM-level signing (targeted allocation money), or designated player – however, this would be dependent on possible roster changes. For the moment, using the theory of Ocham’s Razor it would seem likely that any incoming left winger would be a YDP.
Let’s recap a little on the YDP rules Major League Soccer (MLS) has in place:
- must be 23 years old or younger during the League Year (the age of the player is determined by year – not date – of birth);
- will carry the following Young Designated Player Salary Budget Charge:
- Ages 20 and younger: $150,000;
- Ages 21-23: $200,000; and,
- there is no limit on both transfer fee or salary.
The following is our list of players that are in one way or another ready to move to a more competitive league or deserve more playing time and MLS and LA Galaxy could be a viable option for them in their growth and development. Let’s get started.
Antonio Nusa, 17, Club Brugge (Belgian Pro League)
A product of Langhus and Stabaek in Norway, Nusa may not be a name many of us know now, but in a couple of years, he will be. (For those wondering why Stabaek might sound familiar, it’s because current Director of Scouting, Michael Stephens, played there after leaving the Galaxy.) Nicknamed “the Norwegian Neymar,” Nusa has been handling the pressure well at such a young age. Many consider him to be the future of the Norwegian national team, alongside Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Martin Odegaard of Arsenal. He has a good track record with the Norwegian youth national teams and will continue to make the move up the ranks. He made his debut with Stabaek at the young age of 16 and, while at Brugge, became the youngest player to score on their debut in the UEFA Champions League. As a left winger, Nusa has good speed and quickness, great ball dribbling skills, and an amazing right foot. He fits Greg Vanney’s mold of wingers that like to cut in on their dominant foot to shoot. Nusa made the move from Stabaek to Brugge last year but has seen very little playing time. He could make the move to MLS if he feels he’s being overlooked at Brugge. This could be a good move for him as it would provide an opportunity for more playing time. Another factor to consider is that any potential move for him wouldn’t materialize until he turns eighteen on April 17, which comes just seven days before the MLS’ primary transfers window closes on April 24. And as we all are well aware, the Galaxy have to make any transfers that require the receipt of an ITC (International Transfer Certificate) outside of the United States and Canada before this deadline.
Keito Nakamura, 22, LASK (Austrian Bundesliga)
This find comes to us from our Discord friend Robert Lopez (@eltoaddd). Nakamura is a product of youth set up Yowa-kai and Gamba Osaka of the Japanese J1 League. He’s had stints with Twente FC of the Dutch Eredivisie as well as with Sint-Truiden of the Belgian Pro League, and LASK Junior team OӦ. Last year he made the move to LASK and had a breakout year and has followed it up this season with another stellar year. He’s currently first in combined goals scored and assists (15), third in goals scored (10), third in home goals scored (5), fifth in away goals scored (5), fourth in match-winning goals (3), fifth in assists (5), and fifth in goal ratio % for his team (30.3% of LASK’s goals). In addition to his up-and-coming club success, Nakamura has steadily progressed up the ranks of the Japanese youth national teams and is expected to make his senior debut very soon. As a right-footed left winger, Nakamura fits the prototype of wingers that Vanney prefers. He has a good engine to go along with great speed and quickness, as well as good balance and ball dribbling skills. Nakamura is ready to make the jump to a better league, which should come as no surprise as teams in both the Premier League and Serie A have been rumored to be keeping a close eye on him. For him, a move to LA and MLS would be a step in the right direction in his development and growth. The Galaxy would benefit from a player like Nakamura to be a part of the left wing corps.
Michał Skórás, 23, Lech Poznán (Polish Ekstraklasa)
Skórás is a product of the Lech Poznán academy system as well as other Polish youth teams. He has worked his way up to the senior team, which has coincided with his ascent up the Polish national team set up from youth teams to his senior debut last September. Skórás is very versatile and can not only play at the left wing, but also at the right wing as well as a central attacking midfielder. He’s very quick on the ball, has good speed, has a great engine, and is very good on the defensive side of the ball as well. And being right-footed, he again, fits the type of left winger that Vanney prefers to create and take their own shots. Something else to think about though is that Skórás and Lech Poznán are currently in a tight battle for third place in the Polish Ekstraklasa and have just advanced to the Europa Conference League – Round of 16. Thus, it won’t be easy to pry him away. Like Nakamura, Skórás is ready to make the jump to a better league and the Galaxy could use him as depth or someone to push Boyd at the left wing position.
Stefan Mitrovíc, 20, Red Star Belgrade (Serbian Super Liga)
While Mitrovíc was born in the former Yugoslavia Republic (specifically, in modern-day Serbia), his family moved to Canada when he was a baby, and he grew up playing for a few youth teams in Canada, including – wait for it – Toronto FC (TFC) academy while Vanney was coach for the senior team. However, lack of opportunities at the time pushed him to make the move to Europe and seek opportunities in his native homeland of Serbia. He impressed at Radnički Niš of the Serbian Super Liga and was then signed by powerhouse Red Star Belgrade, winners of seven of the last nine league championships. Therefore, it’s no shame and no knock on Mitrovíc that he is not a regular starter or gets consistent playing time with them. While his field time is inconsistent, his form is not. He impresses so much during the little time he does get that many elite European teams are monitoring his progress, including FC Barcelona. This season, he has 5 goals and 3 assists in all competitions. On the international stage, he’s eligible for both Canada and Serbia. In fact, he accepted a callup from Canada in January 2022, but due to COVID health restrictions, the camp was canceled. However, Mitrovíc has ascended nicely up the Serbian national team youth teams and even made his debut with the senior team last September. Again, Mitrovíc is a right-footed left winger that enjoys cutting in. This also may sound like a broken record, but he has amazing quickness and speed, superb ball dribbling skills and stamina. He can create his own shot, which is something the Galaxy have been lacking in the past few years. It would come of no surprise if Vanney once again reached back to his days with TFC and kept tabs on this player.
Octavian Popescu, 20, FCSB (Romanian Liga I)
Tomás Cuello, 22, Athletic Paranaense (Brazilian Serie A)
Johan Carbonara, 23, Racing (Argentinian Liga Professional)
Konrad De la Fuente, 21, Olympiacos (Greek Super League)