LAFC sign free agent former Barcelona right-back

Chris Smith
LAFC have added another defensive option.
LAFC have added another defensive option. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angles FC have added some defensive reinforcements with the signing of Spanish right-back Sergi Palencia.

The 26-year-old arrives as a free agent having last been at French Ligue 2 side Saint-Etienne - spending a number of seasons on loan in the Spanish second-tier side Leganés - signing a two-year deal through the 2024 MLS season with a club option on 2025.

Palencia, a product of FC Barcelona's academy, will compete with MLS veteran Ryan Hollingshead for LAFC's starting right-back spot as the Black and Gold look to defend their MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield titles in 2023.

"Palencia is a talented defender with experience in some of the top leagues in Europe," LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington said in a club press release. "He is a great fit to what we are building at LAFC, and we are excited to welcome him to Los Angeles."

Despite spending 14 years at the club, Palencia never managed a senior appearance for Barca, though he did play over 100 times for the club's B team. The bulk of his senior experience since then has come during a two-year loan spell with Leganes between 2020 and 2022, while he's also represented Bordeaux alongside Saint-Etienne in France.

LAFC have now signed three defenders this off-season, with Palencia joining United States international Aaron Long and Denil Maldonado, who is on loan from Honduran side FC Motagua.