Galaxy agree to most expensive transfer in club history to land Gabriel Pec

Gabriel Pec holds his hand to his ear and celebrates after scoring the third goal of Vasco's match against Fluminense
Gabriel Pec of Vasco celebrates after scoring the third goal for his team during a match between Vasco Da Gama and Fluminense as part of Brasileirao 2023 at Nilton Santos Stadium on Sept. 16 in Rio de Janeiro. (Buda Mendes / Getty Images)

The Galaxy have reached agreement with Brazilian club Vasco da Gama to acquire winger Gabriel Pec on a $10-million transfer, the richest in franchise history. The deal, which also includes $1.5 million in incentives, could be announced before players begin reporting for preseason physicals on Saturday.

Pec, 22, who will sign as a young designated player, had a career-high eight goals and four assists in 37 Serie A appearances last year and can play on either side of the field as well as in central midfield, providing the Galaxy with a dynamic and versatile attacker.

The transfer fee is a few thousand dollars more than the team paid Sevilla in 2020 for the rights to Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, whose contract with the Galaxy expired last month, and the addition of Pec continues what has already been a busy winter for general manager Will Kuntz.

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In the last two weeks, the club has signed free-agent goalkeeper John McCarthy, acquired Japanese defender Miki Yamane from J1 League side Kawasaki Frontale and traded midfielder Tyler Boyd to Nashville for two international slots and as much as $700,000 in allocation money. But the team is far from done. Kuntz is believed to be in talks with River Platte involving 22-year-old Argentine winger Pablo Solari. The Galaxy have reportedly offered around $10 million for Solari, well below what the club is said to be seeking.

The team also had what was reported to be a $12.5-million offer for 24-year-old Paraguayan winger Ramon Sosa rejected by his Argentina club, Atlético Talleres. The Galaxy, which opened last season with the second-highest payroll in the league at $23.5 million, could top that this year despite shedding nearly $12 million in guaranteed salary with the departure of Hernández and Douglas Costa.

LAFC’s players are expected to begin reporting for physicals Jan. 21, although just who will be there remains a mystery. The team lost its top two goalkeepers in McCarthy and Maxime Crepeau this winter, replacing them with Hugo Lloris, a former World Cup champion with France. In addition, defender Giorgio Chiellini retired last month, defenders Denil Maldonado and Diego Palacios have returned to Latin America and free agents Carlos Vela and Kellyn Acosta remain unsigned.

They are among 14 players who have seen their contracts with LAFC end following last month’s MLS Cup final, leaving the club without three of its top five defenders, its captain and assists leader and a World Cup veteran midfielder. But the biggest concern for general manager John Thorrington is forward Denis Bouanga, the MLS scoring leader last season. Bouanga is under contract for two more seasons but has said he would like to return to his native France after drawing interest from more than one Ligue 1 team.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.