He's been rumored to transfer overseas for two years running, but will he finally take the leap in 2014?
Technically, Omar Gonzalez is no stranger to European football. The 25-year-old suffered a torn ACL in his first training session with German outfit FC Nurnburg. What was intended to be a short-term loan spell was shorter than Leroy Rosenior's tenure with Torquay United FC.
But with all that disappointment behind him, Gonzalez returned to the Galaxy and became a key cog in the club's championship runs during the 2011 and 2012 season. It culminated in an MLS MVP at the end of David Beckham's swan song. With an incredible run of form and such a promising career ahead of him, Los Angeles did the unthinkable and signed the center-back to a designated player contract.
Head coach Bruce Arena beamed brighter than a proud father at the club's official press conference for the announcement:
We are pleased that Omar will remain with the Galaxy. In the past five years, he has arguably developed in to the top defender in MLS. I believe he can continue to grow as a player and leader of our team.
The question is: Will he be there long enough for that to happen?
The signing of Gonzalez to a designated player contract doesn't ensure his future is with the Galaxy. All it ensures is his value will increase in the open market during the upcoming summer transfer window. An impressive showing at the 2014 World Cup for the U.S. men's national team will only multiply his price tag.
During MLS Media Day, Gonzalez remained adamant in his excitement to stay and help grow the game in America.
But he hasn't entirely ruled out a move to Europe:
I think the attraction is still there [Europe] but I don't think it's as strong. I think most players see the same thing I do, that this league is better. Sure, if I get a better option, I would want to go to Europe. But I wouldn't do it for a mid-table team. I'd rather stay here and get better.
Gonzalez has shown he has the capability to play above mid-table talent. His 99 headed duels ranked sixth in MLS and his 354 defensive actions placed in the top 10 among MLS defenders. Gonzalez, however, was the only defender to feature in less than 30 matches in each of those rankings.
His appearance with the USMNT in Brazil this summer will ensure his playing time lessens for the Galaxy, but it might dissipate entirely if Gonzalez plays himself to an opportunity in Europe too grand to pass up.