The LA Galaxy bought out the contract of forward Giovani Dos Santos on Friday, ending the Mexican veteran's inconsistent 3 1/2-year tenure with the five-time MLS champions.
The Galaxy announced the deal just in time to reach roster compliance ahead of MLS' season openers this weekend. The 29-year-old Dos Santos was among four designated players on the Galaxy's roster, and only three are allowed.
The Galaxy elected to cut ties with Dos Santos while keeping his brother, Jonathan, and stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romain Alessandrini. The move technically was an offseason buyout, which means his 2019 salary will not count against the current cap.
"We have been working with the player this preseason to reach an agreement that is best for both sides," Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said. "We have come to this decision and believe that it is best for the club and for Giovani. We will work with the player and his representatives to find an on-field solution for the player's next step."
Gio Dos Santos still has a contract with MLS, which means he could be transferred to another league or moved to another MLS club after he goes on waivers.
Dos Santos joined the Galaxy with fanfare in 2015 after a European career that began in Barcelona's famed La Masia academy. The Galaxy estimated the deal at $34 million when it acquired Dos Santos from Villareal to be their next star alongside Robbie Keane after the first retirement of Landon Donovan.
Dos Santos was largely outstanding in his first 1 1/2 seasons with the Galaxy, scoring 17 goals in 38 MLS games. But his performance declined sharply amid injuries woes for the past two years.
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He scored just three goals in 14 appearances last season for the Galaxy, who have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. He missed extensive time with the Galaxy due to injuries and international play.
Dos Santos' future with the Galaxy was clearly tenuous heading into this season, given his hefty salary and the superior performances of the Galaxy's other three designated players. Dos Santos rarely trained with the Galaxy's first team last month due to a knee injury.