Head coach Greg Vanney has compared the LA Galaxy's 'long shot' approach in signing Riqui Puig to how Toronto FC acquired Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus in 2015.
Barcelona product Puig arrived in California last weekend, signing on a free transfer through the end of 2025 using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).
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Still only 23 years old, Puig is seen as a landmark transfer for Major League Soccer, further proving it is not only a place for young players to develop or older players to retire, but a landing spot for anyone looking to revive their career with regular minutes.
Of course, it was still a shock move, but this isn't the first time Vanney has been involved in a deal of this manner.
”Sometimes it’s a little bit of a long shot, but if don’t swing you don’t know,” Vanney said. “That was the same idea we had at Toronto when we got Giovinco. If you don’t take a swing you’ll never know if you can get it done.
“The pieces worked together. He was a young man that they were looking to get to somewhere else to get games, to play. He saw the project and his family saw the project as something that was really beneficial and exciting for him.”
Ultimately, the move should serve to help Puig just as much as the Galaxy, if not more.
The Spaniard didn't figure in the plans of Barca manager Xavi, meaning he would have been frozen out for the 2022/23 La Liga season, if he didn't move elsewhere.
Vanney highlighted how the Galaxy's 'dependence' on him in attacking areas will help the development of Puig, whose former club retains a repurchase option and a 50% sell-on clause.
“We will be more dependent on him in those final actions and to develop that part of his game than maybe he would be if he were at Barcelona,” Vanney added. “That’s not the role he’s expected to play at Barcelona, which is to be the final passer, the playmaker and all that kind of stuff. But he comes here and he’s that guy for us and I think really can grow in that space.”
When will Riqui Puig make his LA Galaxy debut?
And what about Puig's debut? When will Galaxy supporters finally see their new star?
Well, the Galaxy host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday and Vanney hopes to see Puig on the field at some point, though likely not from the start.
“Likely off the bench given the grand scheme of things,” he said. “We’ll see if things happen tonight and he can integrate fully into training tomorrow and all that kind of stuff. But generally speaking, I think we want to take the right process with this and we’ll just see how things play out.”
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