Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez // AP
Two days after transferring Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX side C.F. Pachuca, the LA Galaxy announced another major transaction in the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Juninho to Club Tijuana.
“We thank Juninho for his contributions on and off the field during his time here,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “We wish him the best of luck with Tijuana.”
Since joining the Galaxy in 2010 on loan from Sao Paolo, Juninho made 187 appearances with the club and 180 starts, and was one of the team’s most consistent midfielders. He earned his first MLS all-star selection in 2015. However, his role was reduced with the addition of Steven Gerrard in the summer.
Juninho’s agent Ricard Silveira told the LA Times soon after the Galaxy lost in the knockout round of the MLS playoffs that his client “likes to play for Bruce, (but) Juninho wants to be recognized, that’s for sure.”
Juninho scored 18 goals and notched 23 assists with the Galaxy, scoring four times and assisting seven goals in 2015. After Gerrard joined the squad in July, Juninho did not score in MLS play, but recorded four assists.
“It has been a privilege and an honor to have worn the LA Galaxy jersey for the past six seasons,” Juninho wrote in a statement released on social media and LAGalaxy.com. I have worn it with pride, however, it is time for me to trade in my Galaxy jersey for a new one. I’ve always welcomes the opportunity for growth and for change. To play for Club Tijuana in Mexico is a tremendous opportunity for me.”
The transfers of Gonzalez and Juninho free up considerable financial space for the Galaxy, who are undergoing a major roster reconstruction after their disappointing 2015 season. Goal.com reported that Juninho’s transfer fee was believed to be in the $1.5 million range, while Gonzalez’s was in the $750,000 range. According to data released by the MLS Players Union, Juninho was guaranteed $350,000 in 2015.
Club Tijuana is scheduled to face the Galaxy in a preseason friendly on Feb. 9 at StubHub Center in advance of the 2016 MLS season.