Galaxy parting ways with team captain Jonathan dos Santos

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  • Jonathan dos Santos
    Jonathan dos Santos
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Giovani dos Santos
    Giovani dos Santos
    Mexican association football player
Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos in action against the Seattle Sounders.
Midfielder Jonathan dos Santos will not return to the Galaxy in 2022 after spending the last 4½ seasons with the club. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

The Galaxy are parting ways with captain Jonathan dos Santos after 4½ seasons. The Mexican international’s contract expired this fall and the team confirmed Monday it will not offer him a new one.

“We appreciate Jonathan, everything that he's put into the club and how much that this club is in his heart,” said Chris Klein, the team president. “But we just felt that it was it was time to move on.”

Dos Santos, 31, a Mexico World Cup veteran, began his career in Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy, alongside older brother Giovani, when he was 12. He was reunited with Gio on the Galaxy midway through the 2017 season, when he joined the team from Villarreal of Spain’s La Liga.

He scored five goals and had 12 assists in his first 2½ seasons, but injuries limited his playing time the last two years, when he sat out nearly a third of the Galaxy’s 56 games. The team needed more than that from its second-highest-paid player, who made $2 million last season, so Dos Santos’ departure was not a surprise since it not only frees up that salary, but it opens up a designated-player spot for coach Greg Vanney as well.

“That designated-player spot is something that is certainly important to Greg and it was always important for kind of the next stage of the team,” Klein said.

Vanney brought in 16 new players this season, his first as Galaxy coach.

During his time with the Galaxy, Dos Santos proved a popular teammate, one reason he was given the captain’s armband. He also studied English with a tutor and began doing interviews in that language this year and has talked about remaining in Southern California when his playing career is over.

Beyond Dos Santos, the Galaxy roster remains largely intact.

“As long as I can remember, this is the best place we've been in an offseason,” Klein said. “Greg loves what he has and knows what he needs.”

The Galaxy did not exercise Victor Vázquez’s option and Sacha Kljestan’s contract has expired, but the team is in negotiations to bring back both veterans, who are locker room leaders.

Options, meanwhile, were exercised on goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, defenders Nick DePuy and Daniel Steres, and midfielders Daniel Aguirre and Adam Saldaña.

As for the rest of the roster, the Galaxy declined options on forwards Ethan Zubak, Kai Koreniuk and Augie Williams, goalkeeper Eric Lopez, and defenders Daniel Acosta and Oniel Fisher. The team is pursuing the possibility of new deals with Zubak and Lopez.

The loan for defender Niko Hamalaninen expired and he will return to Queens Park Rangers of the English Championship.

Also out of contract and unlikely to return is backup goalkeeper Justin vom Steeg.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.