UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Real Sociedad announced Tuesday on its website it has agreed to transfer Carlos Vela to Major League Soccer in January 2018. He’ll remain with Real Sociedad for the first half of the 2017-18 season before joining Los Angeles FC in for preseason.
ORIGINAL STORY, Noon ET: Carlos Vela finally is on his way to Major League Soccer.
The Mexico soccer team star has agreed to join MLS’ Los Angeles FC for its inaugural season, The Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Baxter reported Tuesday, citing league sources. He might sign his LAFC contract in the coming hours or days.
Vela, 28, will leave La Liga (Spanish league) club Real Sociedad for the MLS expansion team, but exactly when he’ll complete the transfer isn’t clear yet, according to ESPN’s Eric Gomez. LAFC won’t start playing until next February, so it might have to loan Vela to another team for six months.
Since Vela’s contract with Real Sociedad wasn’t set to expire until after the 2017-18 season, LAFC might have to pay a transfer fee to acquire him.
Vela began learning his trade in the youth academy of Mexico soccer giant Chivas but spent his entire senior-level career in Europe. He was on the books at Premier League club Arsenal from 2006-2012 but only made 29 appearances for the Gunners.
He went out on three loan spells to Osasuna, Salamanca and West Bromwich Albion before joining Real Sociedad in 2012. He scored 72 goals in seven seasons, becoming a bona-fide star with the La Liga club.
He also has represented Mexico since 2007, scoring 17 goals in 55 games.
Vela has been linked with moves to MLS in the past, with the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids coming close to signing him in 2015.
But two years later, he will be LAFC’s first marquee signing and work under recently announced head coach Bob Bradley. Some seasoned MLS and U.S. soccer watchers are skeptical over Vela’s impending move to Los Angeles.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images
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