The Los Angeles Galaxy's search for Juninho's replacement has ended with Juninho himself.
The Sao Paulo central midfielder is on his way back to Los Angeles for another loan spell with the Galaxy. Multiple reports out of Brazil say that Sao Paulo manager Emerson Leao had no plans to use the 23-year-old Juninho, who signed a new three-year deal with Sao Paulo during the MLS offseason. According to a team release, the loan will span the 2012 MLS season.
In addition to Juninho returning, the Galaxy also announced that they've acquired the full rights to former Sao Paulo centerback Leonardo, who is still on the comeback trail from a torn ACL and LCL, on a free transfer.
After initially losing Juninho, the Galaxy added Marcelo Sarvas from Alajuelense and acquired Kyle Nakazawa from the Philadelphia Union. Now that his return is completed, they'll both provide backup depth for the Brazilian and David Beckham, as the Galaxy will return their entire starting midfield from their 2011 MLS Cup run.
Aside from losing centerback Omar Gonzalez to a torn ACL, the Galaxy's offseason has gone about as smoothly as possible. The team re-signed Beckham and Sean Franklin and had Edson Buddle return from Germany before welcoming back Juninho, who will rejoin the club next week according to a Galaxy team release.
In addition to maintaining their status as favorites to repeat as MLS Cup champions, the Galaxy's chances during the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League also improve with Juninho's return. The first leg of the club's quarterfinal tie with Toronto FC is set for a month from today.
What's your reaction to Juninho's return?
Share your thoughts below.