LA Galaxy

Greg Vanney suggests Dejan Joveljic and Chicharito can play together for LA Galaxy

Chris Smith
Vanney has hinted that Chicharito could play in a front two
Vanney has hinted that Chicharito could play in a front two / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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LA Galaxy coach Greg Vanney has hinted at the prospect of using new signing Dejan Joveljic in a strike partnership with Chicharito when the latter returns to full fitness.

The five-time MLS Cup champions recently parted with a reported $4m fee to bring the Serbian striker to California, boosting their attacking options ahead of the second half of the MLS season.

Joveljic has plenty of goalscoring experience in Europe, hitting the net 17 times in 32 Austrian Bundesliga appearances last season for Wolfsberger AC last season, while back in 2018/19, he scored 11 times in 24 appearances across all competitions for Red Star Belgrade.

Even so, the signing of Joveljic has left some scratching their heads at how Vanney plans to accommodate his new arrival alongside the club's existing DP striker Chicharito, who has 10 goals in just 866 minutes of MLS action this season. There had even been speculation that Joveljic would be moved into midfield or out wide.

But Vanney insists he'll use the 24-year-old in his best position and that we might even see Joveljic partner Chicharito in a two-man forward line, as well as rotating the pair as the MLS schedule condenses.

"[Joveljic] is a forward, so he'll play forward, he won't be a midfielder, he won't be on the wings," Vanney said (via MLSSoccer.com). "He'll be a forward. So the question where we'll see this is: Is he going to be a No. 9 by himself [or] is he going to work together with Javier at times? It's the beginning of this whole conversation today where we talk a lot about how many games we have, and the proximity of those games and being able to have two guys who can hold our team at a high level.

"So, sometimes the two of them when they're both healthy will play together, we're comfortable with that, and we've done that at times during the course of the season.

"But this time we'll have two really out-and-out strikers that are used to playing in pairs as well, and sometimes we'll be able to give each of them sort of a break and then wait to split up a game and keep our momentum and presence from the attacking side against an opposition sometimes with one forward. So he'll be a starter sometimes and he'll be coming off the bench sometimes, just like everybody else in this last second half of the season as we get down the stretch."

Chicharito is currently nursing a calf injury suffered back in late June. On the striker's fitness, Vanney refused to rule out the Mexican's availability for the Galaxy's trip to Minnesota United on Saturday, but insisted he'll only make the journey at all if he can help his side on the field.

"If [Chicharito is] not able to help us on the field, he'll stay [in LA] and continue to build up his progression to hopefully get back on the field to help us out," Vanney said.

The Galaxy are currently third in the Western Conference, one point adrift of the Seattle Sounders and just two behind Sporting Kansas City.

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