Gonzalez open to Galaxy extension, but says no offers have been made yet

By OMAR SHAMOUT

CARSON, Calif. — With only one year left on his contract, LA Galaxy and current U.S. Men’s national team defender Omar Gonzalez refused to close the door on extending his stay in Los Angeles beyond next season. But he said there’s been no new contract offer from the club as of yet.

“We’ve both come to an understanding that as it gets closer to the end of the year maybe we’ll talk about that,” the MLS Cup MVP said. “But as of right now there have been no talks.”

When and if those talks do begin with the Galaxy, Gonzalez said he might be tempted to stay if the right offer, such as a designated player slot, were on the table.

“I’d definitely have to take a look at the contract.”

Galaxy fans might be relieved to know that no offers have come in from overseas during this month’s transfer window either.

“If the opportunity’s there, I’ll take a look at it,” Gonzalez said. “None have come up.”

His club coach, Bruce Arena, confirmed that no extension has been offered, but said the Galaxy “would be glad to talk to Omar and his agent about extending his contract,” adding that any talk of offering him DP status would be “putting the cart before the horse.”

Gonzales’ willingness to consider an extension is a change in his stance on staying with the Galaxy. During the regular season, Gonzalez told SBI that he planned on playing out his current contract and weighing his options abroad.

“I’m going to play out this contract and then figure it out from there whether I sign with MLS, sign in Europe or sign in Mexico,” Gonzalez told SBI in October. “It’s to be determined.

Should forward Landon Donovan decide to return this season, the Galaxy would have one DP slot left after the departure of David Beckham. Speculation is rife, however, that a top international midfielder will be brought in brought in, with Arena confirming today that he’s talked with both Frank Lampard and Kaka about joining the squad.

If Donovan opts not to return, Robbie Keane would be the Galaxy’s only DP left, leaving two slots open. If Donovan stays only one more year, that could potentially free up another DP slot for Gonzalez if the Galaxy chose to offer it.

Gonzalez was a key component of the Galaxy’s championship run. In the 20 MLS regular and post-season games he played in since his return from a torn ACL on July 4, the Galaxy allowed 21 total goals. In the previous 17 games, they conceded 27.

Arena said today that his center back depth chart season would likely consist of Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza and Leonardo, who Arena declared fully fit. Arena announced David Junior Lopes was unlikely to return to the team.

One of the biggest hurdles LA overcame in its championship run was eliminating the team’s archrival San Jose Earthquakes by a 3-2 aggregate score after going down, 1-0, in the first leg.

Following the clubs’ regular-season matchup on Oct. 21, Gonzalez let loose a torrent of criticism toward the Earthquakes. He called their physical style of play “embarrassing” and referred to San Jose players as “a bunch of jokes.”

When Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 25-man roster on Jan. 6, Gonzalez learned that two of those “jokes” would be his teammates at camp. But Gonzalez said he was never concerned about possible tensions, and no one, including DeLaGarza, felt the need to address it in conversation.

“At the end of the day, all four of us are pretty good guys,” Gonzalez said. “Once we’re off the field, we don’t really talk about that at all.”

In order to get himself fit for a potential call up to the national team squad, Gonzalez said he didn’t run for an entire month following MLS Cup, choosing instead to focus on weight training to stay in shape. He’s been happy that Klinsmann and the coaching staff have allowed the players to ease back into the swing of things.

“Going into camp I thought it was going to be a lot of running,” he said, “but the focus has been on getting your body back and trying to focus on soccer specifics.”

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47 Responses to Gonzalez open to Galaxy extension, but says no offers have been made yet

  1. Cole says:

    If im the galaxy im offering him a DP slot, a great young defender who raises the level of play of his team immensly. He also has the potential to grow as the biggest fan favorite and a captain.

    • Bobb says:

      Defenders just are not worth DP slots for the most part. It doesn’t make sense for the Galaxy or Omar. He should head to Europe, most likely England or Germany.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Defenders win championships, and thus are worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, it’s attackers who are paid their weight in gold, but defenders who are worth it.

        • Josh D says:

          I agree, only big name DP defenders deserve the money. Omar has said in the past he wants to play abroad. I take this as just being politically nice to LA.

      • jasy says:

        agree with Bob. the DP slot, especially for LAG, beyond performance on the field, is for “blink, blink”, marketing and selling the brand, not just LAG but the entire MLS and US pro soccer. as in Donovan (captain of team USA), as in Beckham, as in Keane (captain of IMNT). Gonzales deserves EPL to ply his trade.

        • Christian says:

          Gonzalez deserves a good contract. Like most players, he will play with the team that offers the best contract.

          For the sake of Team USA, I’d rather see him leading a championship caliber team vs fighting for acceptance on a perennial loser.
          Galaxy is the best we have to offer in the states, and I’m sure he will take this into consideration. Winning matters.

      • bottlcaps says:

        I think Arena is going to keep Gonzales for at least another year. The big problem is juggling the allocation money and salary cap. I think in the long run though, and Arena sees this too, is that Gonzo will be heading to Europe within the next 2 years. There is too much interest in too many teams. I don’t think the Galaxy can sign him for a DP UNLESS Donovan leaves, which I don’t see as likely. The Galaxy can sign him for more than the 350K that is allotted for a DP, without signing him as a DP, but that play havoc with your salary cap. I see them signing OG in the range of 250K-350K for a one year extension, ostensibly so they can sell him on the transfer market.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Reading between the lines, LA is talking to Lampard, Kaka, and possibly others about a summer move. They have Keane under DP deal and are not sure about what Landon’s plans are. Do the math, 4 > 3. They have to see how things shake out to decide what to do. If Landon retires or they can’t lure a big name, maybe Gonzo gets the money. But the current appearance would be that other, attacking options are the priority. And for all we know maybe Arena in fact doesn’t want to spend DP money on a defender, that’s not the roster approach that just won two titles.

      Gonzo is in a tough spot because there is Rico Clark potential in working your way into the NT through domestic success but then making a risky move right before the Cup. If you don’t immediately click and slide into the lineup, you’re not playing right when you’re supposed to be getting ready for Brazil.

      • Air Jordanz says:

        I think you have a good point, but let’s remember that Rico Clark was doing well in Germany before an injury got him moved to the bench.

        • OPMG says:

          It’s very possible that Jurgen said something along those lines to Omar. He needs to be playing heading into WC 14, not fighting for a roster spot. Could be a reason why he’s open to signing some type of extension, he’s guaranteed playing time in MLS.

          • Josh D says:

            I’m hesitant to do that. He needs to challenge himself. I don’t want defenders starting in the WC who only have MLS experience. There’s no way they could handle the speed, intelligence, and creativity of a Messi or Ronaldo or Rooney or Podolski or Neymar, etc.

            He has a year and a half to find playing time. If he can’t do that in that amount of time, he didn’t go to the right team. Cameron proved MLS defenders can step up their game and start straight away – so long as you choose the right club.

  2. Fredo says:

    The Joy and Happiness that exudes from Omar when he plays and wins is priceless. Sign him up!

  3. 2tone says:

    Well we will just have to see what happens, but my guess is that quite a few European clubs will be looking at Omar this summer.

    • biff says:

      True. And it’s possible that some clubs already are looking at him for a January transfer. There are several Bundesliga clubs desperate for CB coverage, including relegation-threatened Hoffenheim, where Omar could earn many times more than he does at LA.

  4. Drew says:

    Any USMNT fan wants him to get out of LA. Would love him and cameron to be the future pair at CB.

    • dan says:

      Cameron is quickly becoming a RB.

      • John says:

        His future with the USMNT is still at CB.

        • biff says:

          @John. Would you care to tell us how you know that Cameron’s future wih the USMNT is at CB? If Cameron continues to play RB for Stoke then his skills will not doubt improve as a RB while his skills at CB will decline. Cameron scored a goal this week in the FA Cup against Crystal Palace (a goal, which, by the way, was not reported in the
          Americans Abroad: Midweek Rewind). In any case, if you compare Cameron’s performances against the generally bad form of Timothy Chandler the past two months Cameron already is playing RB at a much higher level.

          • Marlon says:

            For a very long time Branislav Ivanivicic played predominately RB for Chelsea and was still the starting CB for his country ahead of Neven Subotic. John might not have proof that Cameron will be able continue as a CB, but you have even less proof that his knowledge of the position will literally decline.

          • Gnarls says:

            Cameron Jerome who scored, not Geoff Cameron. That’s why you didn’t see anythign in Yanks Abroad.

          • MFP says:

            Depends what we mean by “future.” In the long term, who knows where he ends up, but at least for the next 6 months or so, we’re relatively strong and RB with Chandler/ Cherundelo, and Cameron’s the only clear 1st choice CB in the player pool.

            Maybe by WC2014 we’ll have 2 other in form CBs who’ve gotten some experience with the team, Cherundelo’s slowed down too much, Chandler’s 2 month bump is a 1.5 year struggle, and Cameron’s still starting at RB and playing great for Stoke. That’s a lot of ifs though, and imo, counts as the unforseeable future, so who knows by then…

            • Paul Miller says:

              The problem with the USMNT is the two CB positions. If Cameron were exclusively a RB, he would be third (or maybe even fourth) on the depth chart, instead of a starter.

              I think Gonzo is going to be the other starter. Like Boca a lot, but those legs are looking older than they are. Longer term, I think Cameron’s spot is safe through this World Cup cycle. After, only until Brooks or someone else comes of age. It’s bad enough to try to rush one of the others along, too – the kid who just broke his leg in England, Besler, or even deep select toward a young Walker Zimmerman. But that’s after this cycle, when I believe it will be Cameron and Gonzo.

              • biff says:

                have you seen Cameron playing RB for Stoke? If not, I suggest you watch him this weekend. He is developing into a very good RB.

          • GW says:

            You act as if playing right back for thirty eight or so games will ruin Cameron for the center back position.

            This is ridiculous.

            Cameron plays center back for the USMNT because right now JK thinks he’s the best man available for the job.

            He plays right back for Stoke because Pulis thinks he’s the best man available for the job.

            Obviously, playing one or the other permanently would be ideal but switching back and forth is hardly likely to ruin him. Cameron is a long way from suffering permanent brain damage due to playing at right back.

            More than a few good players have played on the wing and inside. Some more or less made the transition permanent and some switched back and forth before eventually settling on one spot, usually in the inside. Just off the top of my head look up Gabriel Heinze, John O’Shea, William Gallas, Michael Essien, Jamie Carragher, Wes Brown, Lillian Thuram, Gary Cahill, Mikael Silvestre, Arne Freidrich and so on, to see how they did.

            What John about Cameron said makes perfect sense.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I always thought we should try him there when he was in Houston. He started out as a right wing and can get down the field and deliver an actually dangerous cross. His long strides are well suited to the wing. He also can play instinctive defense although he occasionally falls asleep. He’s tall enough to play centrally but has the tools to play wide.

        However, for NT purposes we have more quality wingbacks than CBs so I don’t think he should move there.

    • Yevgeniy says:

      Well, I am a big USMNT fan and I don’t want im to get of LA. And I am not LAG fan. So, don’t speak for everyone!

    • Christian says:

      Not…LA is a strong team in a competitive league, eurosnob.

  5. dan says:

    Sorry Omar, we love you but a DP contract is too much when you only get 3 and you have to replace the most famous athlete in the world

  6. Eddie Vedder says:

    the guy is soft

    • John says:

      Let me guess you’re a butthurt SJ fan?

      Omar Comin!!!!

      • Eddie Vedder says:

        comin for wha?

        “I’d definitely have to take a look at the contract.”

        Galaxy fans might be relieved to know that no offers have come in from overseas during this month’s transfer window either.

        “If the opportunity’s there, I’ll take a look at it,” Gonzalez said. “None have come up.”

  7. John says:

    Omar will probably move to Europe in the summer after having a few USMNT caps on his belt, I’m guessing he will go to a club in the EPL or Bundesliga.

  8. ed - houston says:

    QPR (if they survive or to help them stay up) , west ham, fullham or anywhere he just needs to go to further develop.

    • biff says:

      Do you really think American players are going to be keen to go to Fulham after what Martin Jol did to Clint Dempsey in August? ABF (Anywhere But Fulham). And there is a new story out quoting former Fulham player Bjorn Helge Riise saying: “Martin Jol is disliked by most players and can have an arrogant manner. I am not surprised my brother fell out with him.”

      MARTIN JOL HITS BACK AFTER RIISE’S ARROGANT FULHAM JIBE
      link to express.co.uk

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I think you’re blending two different issues there. You get the idea Jol has lost the team because of the eroding results, and that might in fact be a bad destination if Jol is still around……although, in fairness, he might very well be gone by the summer if he keeps getting these results. So I think you’re 6 months too fast on that critique.

        But Dempsey’s problems were his deal, he’s the one who was under contract and wanted out of town on a forced transfer. Fulham is a nice area with a loyal fanbase, they really don’t deserve all the crud they get from Dempsey loyalists who freak out because the team drove a hard bargain for one of its most prized assets. I was there when they trotted out their first American — Lewis — and there have been several since, including McBride. I get a little miffed at fanboys trying to poison the well because one unhappy player was not simply let out the door for a couple shillings the year after he scored like 20-something.

        • biff says:

          I am not a fanboy for any player or coach nor am I trying to poison the well. Just giving my opinion and don’t really care if someone gets miffed. After all that Dempsey did for Fulham he was treated like stuff simply because he did not want to the sign the contract extension that Jol was trying to jam down his throat. That was the issue, the contact extension, and Fulham had a history of trying to force players to sign extensions they did not want to sign and upping the pressure on them before they tried to ruin Clint’s reputation and Fulham is at it again Brede Hangeland. I hope he has the courage of Clint and stands firm. The smart one in all of this Dembella, who put a release clause in his contract. And if any Americans are considering signing for Fulham, they would be wise to demand a release clause in their contract.

        • beachbum says:

          miffed at fanboys? Imperative, your Fulham blinders define you as a Fulham fanboy. You have lots of nice posts, but your poop smells just as foul as anyone else dude

  9. kevin says:

    Bundesliga or Ligue 1 in the summer if you ask me to guess for him

  10. assocfoot says:

    Re Cameron as CB or RB, I am sure most USMNT supporters would love to see Geoff play CB for Stoke, but, barring injury to the current CB’s or transfer, it’s not happening in the short term. That being said, I am not sure why some people are convinced (not just a little worried, convinced) this is a problem. Marlon mentions Ivanovic – but why look beyond Bocanegra/ He has played a lot of LB in his club career, but from where I sit, his best position has always been CB and he was only used at LB on the NT because we were so desperate. I don’t see Cameron having an issue stepping back into the CB role at all. There are plenty of examples of players going between outside back and CB, or defensive midfield and CB, or whatever, and doing it well when they are the right type of player. To me, Cameron has proved his versatility and I would be happy to see Klinsman put his name down as CB for every important game until we see evidence Cameron can’t play CB any more. And my guess is Omar ends up as the other starting CB from the Honduras game through Brazil, whether he re-signs with LAG or heads to Europe.

  11. Vic says:

    If Ream is making over a million a year in Europe, Gonzalez certainly deserves the same. Since Gonzalez is a much better defender.

    • GW says:

      Well, if Ream is considered a failure, then he is being overpaid and using him as a yardstick to measure what Gonzo should get is problematical.

      The best thing for Gonzo would have been for Tim to succeed, and he still might. If you are a Gonzo fan, you should hope that Ream starts ripping it up before Gonzo has to negotiate terms with anyone in Europe.