On September 5, 2012, Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy signed Swedish international midfielder Christian “Chippen” Wilhelmsson. The signing greatly improves the roster of the Galaxy as they near the end of the Major League Soccer regular season and look to repeat as MLS Cup Champions.
One of the Galaxy’s only glaring weaknesses is the right midfield spot. Recently, Arena has played 23-year-old Hector Jimenez on the right. Although Jimenez plays the role decently, he is young and still has a lot of room to grow.
Christian Wilhelmsson will no doubt be a major upgrade. As a true winger, Chippen will be able to add width to the Galaxy and provide excellent service to Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane up top. The only concerns with the Swede are his age and fitness.
The 32-year-old Wilhelmsson is by no means past playing quality soccer, especially if you compare him to his fellow midfielder, David Beckham. However, playing on the wing in MLS means that Chippen will encounter some speedy players such as Dane Richards and Steve Zakuani.
Christian’s fitness is also somewhat of a concern. He was last with a club team six months ago but played three matches in the Euros. It is likely that some more time will be needed before he gets to a point where he'll be able to play a full 90 minutes.
There is still the question of who Bruce Arena will send out in the midfield when everyone's fit and healthy. With Juninho playing his best soccer of the season, Bruce will likely keep starting him next to Beckham in the center of the midfield.
Wilhelmsson is able to play on either wing, so this leaves either Mike Magee or Marcelo Sarvas to be benched. Whoever Bruce chooses, the other will definitely see time as a sub, and this just adds to the incredible depth that the Galaxy have.
With the MLS regular season winding down, it's crucial that the Galaxy stay hot in order to succeed in the playoffs. The signing of Christian WIlhelmsson will no doubt help the team become more dangerous on the wings and solidify L.A.'s bench as one of the best in the league.