LAFC: Steve Cherundolo comments on Carlos Vela contract talks & open DP spot

Chris Smith
Vela's contract expires in December.
Vela's contract expires in December. / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo has said that Carlos Vela's ongoing contract situation is not having an effect on the relationship between him and his star player.

When fully fit, the Mexican forward is one of the best players in MLS and set a league record for goals in a single regular season in 2019, hitting the net 34 times. Vela has started this season in fine form, too, scoring four goals and assisting another in his first six appearances.

The 33-year-old's current contract expires at the end of the 2022 MLS season and Vela is yet to agree new terms with the Black and Gold, leaving many wondering if he'll move on in the winter and, in turn, open up a DP spot for the club.

But in the meantime, Vela has a job to do on the pitch with LAFC top of the Western Conference and looking to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs after missing out in 2021. Cherundolo is satisfied that when out on the field, Vela is purely focused on playing his soccer.

"The only time I would speak to a player about a contractual situation would be if it's affecting his performance," he told reporters.

"I do not engage in those talks, and I don't have to with Carlos. He's at a place in his career where he can manage that and the club and Carlos have a great relationship, as I do with him. So that will be figured out in due time, when both parties are ready to come to a decision.

"In the meantime, he's a player like everybody else and the coach-player relationship remains the same. It's just a part of the business that I certainly understand and have been around a lot and Carlos has as well. So it's not really an issue between he and I."

LAFC opened up another DP spot earlier this week with the permanent sale of Diego Rossi to Fenerbahce. The Uruguayan forward spent the last seven months on loan with the Turkish side, who have spent $6m to keep Rossi in Istanbul.

Cherundolo says LAFC have already been drawing up a list of targets to fill Rossi's vacant DP spot in the summer, though the club will only pull the trigger if it's the 'right situation'.

"Yes, we've been doing our homework and we've positioned ourselves to make a move in the summer transfer window," he said.

"We will be ready if the right situation comes about at that time and both parties feel it's the right situation and we will make a move. If not, we won't. We will not bring somebody in just to bring somebody in, just to fill a spot. So, it has to be the right fit for both parties, which I'm very confident that we will do so."

LAFC host Sporting Kansas City on Sunday looking to recover from their Trafico loss to the LA Galaxy last week.