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Bruce Arena confirms Nigel de Jong is finalizing Galatasaray deal

Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports
Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

The LA Galaxy look ready to part ways with midfielder Nigel de Jong.

Head coach Bruce Arena confirmed that the Dutch midfielder is in Turkey to finalize a deal with Galatasaray, nearly seven months after he joined the Galaxy from AC Milan.

“Nigel is pursuing an opportunity with our blessing. It either happens or it doesn’t,” Arena said. “We have the greatest respect for Nigel. He’s been a terrific addition to our team. He’s a great professional and a great teammate. When healthy and given a chance to play in this league, he’s been good. His game against Vancouver was exceptional.”

According to, the Galaxy were attempting to unload de Jong in order to avoid having him trigger a clause in his contract that would make him a Designated Player for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

De Jong has started in 18 games for the Galaxy, who currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 40 points.

“Nigel’s a very good player,” Arenas said. “We don’t have an educated public to understand what he does, but he’s been an important member of our team. We do have some depth. If we lose him, then we use our depth. We don’t have any Nigel de Jong’s here, but we have players that can play in that position,” Arena said.  “You lose his ball-winning. He’s a pretty good passer. He’s very good at organizing his teammates around him. Not that others can’t do that job, but Nigel is a real pro at it.”

What do you think of this development? See the Galaxy winning MLS Cup without de Jong? Think the Galaxy are smart to cut ties with him now?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Don’t you love how Jurgen gets TONS of heat for euro-snobbery, and then Bruce Arena says, “We don’t have an educated public to understand what he does, but he’s been an important member of our team.” Wow.

    The reality is that we understand what he does and understand that it’s important to have a destroyer on the field for a certain style of play, but that doesn’t mean fans have to like the style or like him.

    • Bruce is stuck in the 90’s. Hell, even his critical comments of the national team show the game is leaving him behind.

      • I know, riiiiiight? Calling fans uneducated only gets under the skin of wannabes. You and I are above feeling insulted because we’re the actual experts and Bruce isn’t thinking of us when he makes such subtle and clever burns on “the public.” I love to see them squirm, don’t you? Like they have no life it affects them so much. You and I however have robust lives, that’s why we take time to come here and let these amateur critics know how funny and sad we think they are.

  2. Its all about the DP spot and nothing to do with De Jongs play or his tackles. The Galaxy could care less about the social media shitstorm that hit after the Nagbe tackle and Bruce was the first to comment on the lack of “knowledgeable fans” The plain fact is that the Galaxy made a mistake in the commitment of a defensive mid to a 2 year DP contract. Unlike other teams, or, like just a few teams, the Galaxy have the money to sign a fourth or even a fifth DP from within the Galaxy income stream (not from the pockets of the owners) but are limited to three like everyone else (Goodbye Zlatan) so when they commit to DP’s they must make a deep impact on the Galaxy, the MLS and soccer in the US. Players like Beckham, Donovan and possibly Keane,and maybe in the future, GDS, can do that, but De Jong and, so far, Gerrard, don’t. So for the second straight year the Galaxy will have a DP spot or even two, open, MAYBE. While Keane is actively pushing for a renewal of his contract, Gerrard is more passive, but is looking too for the same.

    Now the Galaxy may re-sign both as DP’s and can even sign them to a nice non-DP contract, but I doubt that will hold unless the Galaxy turn around and sign another BIG star and give Gerrard and Keane a chance to shine under a different star and not their own. As each knows they are on the tail end of their careers and have a coaching career a head of them, that far from impossible.

    Either way, I think the Galaxy want to have the flexibility of having two DP slots not taken under contract obligations come the off season. They will also have the playoff run to evaluate players for next year. I think the expansion Draft has to do with the strategy of keeping needed players of the protected player list by havin 2 DP not under contract and therefore not protected, to protect two more players down the roster.

    • Considering he said “United would be his last European club” and Mourinho has made no secret he’s not in his plans, that’s not a bad connecting of the dots, Sam.

  3. Bruce Arena “We don”t have an educated public to understand….etc.” Nice to know that Arena has such contempt for U.S. fans as well as everyone who is not Bruce Arena.

    We understand perfectly what he brings to a team. The very thing he proceeded to do upon arrival. Thanks Bruce.

    • Seriously Bruce? Shades of Klinsmann showing up in that quote. He says this as if there are fans clamoring for de Jong to stay – is there anyone who wants de Jong to stay?

    • Bruce had a bad off-season and wants to put the blame on the fans. Thus far, they are not better than last year and made some really questionable moves.

  4. This was, essentially, a like for like acquisition for letting Juninho go. Hindsight is proving what many of us said back then: horrible move for LA/Bruce Arena.

    • 1. Juninho wore it better
      2. Sebastian is available
      3. Didn’t they sign him on a free? Isn’t this just good soccer biz if they get even a dollar and a bag of balls for him?

  5. Wow, not much positive here for the business side of MLS and AEG. Either management is incompetent because they signed a guy and promised him to be a dp for 2 seasons, and that was a mistake from a financial standpoint, or management was incompetent because they heavily recruited a foreign player who wasn’t as good as they thought.

    • I agree with your point, but for a different reason. It was a mistake to sign a defensive mid to a 2 year DP, something they did not do for Juninho, but did for Omar Gonzales (a defensive player) , which put the handcuffs on the Galaxy and their ability to bring in better players and “stars”

      The Galaxy were smart enough to put in the 23 game clause to be eligible for the DP deal and it’s that clause that made De Jong look for ateam and take a deal. He might not make the 23 game cutoff as another red card or suspension or more likely given his style of play and his age, an injury would. He has 18 games and would need to appear in 5 of the remaining eight to be eligible for the clause, that is close.

      You also need to remember that the Galaxy got him for free from ACM because they are the Galaxy, much respected overseas and are maybe the only team who can get currently contracted players of the stature of Ashley Cole and DeJong for freew ithout a transfer fee and without a DP contract. If you hated what the Galaxy did before, there was more hate after that.

      It now has occurred to the galaxy that there are a lot of good older players languishing on the benches that are available for almost nothing and its to their interest to save the DP slots for the Schweinstigers, the Zlatans and, who knows, the Pulisics (even on loan) or the Ronaldo’s who are the marquee signing that they EXPECT the Galaxy to sign

    • ,,,or it was savvy business by MLS, dealing De Jong before his clause kicked in.

      I suspect they said “no” for a couple of reasons…namely, he wasn’t so superlative he was really worth blowing a DP slot on, and 2) – I find it very likely MLS is making a move on Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has openly stated his interest in MLS…but who will also likely not allow himself to be sent to a cornfield in Columbus either.

      I’m sure Garber will have to use some sort of triple-secret exemption to get Schweinsteiger in now that the transfer window has closed, but I don’t see him passing on Germany’s best-known footballer just because of a rule he himself wrote now that the guy is available and shopping.

  6. Aside from opinions and perceptions of whether his tackling is dirty or not… this makes tons of sense for LAG. Jeff Lareowitz (sp) has really shown quality at the cdm position this year. He may not be as dynamic as de jong, but he’s shown himself as a viable option. Take into consideration the potential loss of a DP spot for the next couple years and this is a no brainer.

    I’m sure the league would just change the rules to allow LAG to keep all their DPs if he were to stay, but I’d rather the league change the rules for us to get someone better than de jong 🙂


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