The L.A. Galaxy officially announced the signing of Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong today, adding the 31-year-old World Cup veteran to fill the team’s final roster spot for the 2016 season.
A product of the famed Ajax Academy, De Jong’s club career made stops in the Netherlands (Ajax), Germany (Hamburger SV), England (Manchester City) and Italy (A.C. Milan) before coming stateside. He also played for the Netherlands in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.
“Nigel is an experienced midfielder who will help the players around him get better,” said LA Galaxy coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “He will add qualities on the field that can strengthen our team in all areas.”
De Jong’s contract with Milan was terminated through mutual consent on Monday, clearing the way for the 31-year-old to join the Galaxy on a free transfer. He was previously tied to the Italian club until 2018, but has been linked to the Galaxy since January.
The L.A. Galaxy opened their preseason with a 2-1 win over Armenian side FC Shirak while officially closing their books, reportedly completing a deal with Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, according to the L.A. Times.
De Jong reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth less than $1 million that includes targeted allocation money. De Jong would fill the final roster spot for the Galaxy, who also announced the signings of Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme last week. The Times reports that the combined salary of the three players is less than $1.7 million.
The 31-year-old World Cup finalist from 2010 negotiated out of the final two years of his contract with A.C. Milan that was slated to expire in 2018.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena repeatedly lamented the team’s defensive woes that led to the team’s early playoff exit last season, saying it was necessary to strengthen the defense during the offseason to contend for a sixth MLS Cup. De Jong surely fits the bill in that regard. He is a bruising defensive midfielder known for his physicality. He once kicked Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the chest during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final:
GIF from sbnation
In game news, the Galaxy won their preseason game against FC Shirak with a brace from Jose Villarreal.
The Timbers scored the fastest goal in MLS history to take the lead 27 seconds into the game, then scored again in the seventh minute.Columbus pulled one back in the 18th minute but never found the equalizer. “I don’t think it has sunk in yet that there’s no next game,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter told reporters. “We’re raising the trophy and we’re the best team in MLS this year.”