Giovani dos Santos has joined LA Galaxy after the MLS club initially reported it had agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the former Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Villarreal attacker. The news was confirmed by Galaxy's official Twitter feed:
Dos Santos is currently representing Mexico at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and will join his new teammates after the tournament's conclusion.
Arena had spoken about the need for a mature approach from a player who hasn't delivered on his immense potential and talent: "It’s going to be a challenge for him. He's not been at a club yet where he's had those kind of responsibilities. And he's in a community where he's going to be sought after. He's going to have to be mature about it."
Arena's words ring true. Dos Santos can light up the MLS if he fully applies himself. This is a player blessed with a natural flair and technical quality that makes him stand out in attack.
His guile in the final third will be a major boost for Los Angeles. In fact, Arena is already anticipating the gifted 26-year-old forward adding qualities that have been missing from Galaxy's attacking play in recent seasons.
He's pinpointed what exactly Dos Santos will mean for LA's forward line, per another report from Kevin Baxter:
He has the individual flair that sometimes we lack in the final third of the field. His running off the ball's good. He can go by people. He has an excellent first touch. He's a finisher. He can pass.
He's got all those great little qualities in and around the penalty area.
Dos Santos' creative touch can form a potentially lethal combination with former Premier League stars Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane. Ex-Liverpool skipper Gerrard is a marquee signing for Galaxy, while veteran striker Keane has been a major hit since swapping Spurs for California.
Gerrard's passing range and vision, along with Keane's quickness and sly movement, should torment MLS defences. Now, though, the threat is even greater.
Dos Santos will be the link between Gerrard firing passes from deep and Keane converting chances. It will be the former Villarreal man's clever touches and stylish through passes that most often set Keane free in and around the box.
The role of chief advanced creator suits Dos Santos. He's never been a prolific goalscorer, finding the net a mere five times for Villarreal in all competitions last season, according to WhoScored.com.
But the Mexico star has always maintained the excellent technique, subtle movement and thoughtful passing every team that plays a combination game needs.
Putting those talents together with Gerrard and Keane has meant taking advantage of a new rule in the MLS. Baxter noted how a change in spending has created the platform for Galaxy to finally sign Santos:
The Galaxy's three designated player spots are currently occupied by Gerrard, reigning league MVP Robbie Keane and U.S. national team defender Omar Gonzalez. But last week the league adopted new rules that essentially allow teams to use special "allocation money” to pay down the salary of DPs, creating a new slot to sign another player at a higher salary.
On the pitch, this is a hugely significant transfer. But the deal has plenty of reach off the field as well.
It's being seen as a major statement of intent by the MLS. Specifically, an endorsement of the current standard of the league and its desirability as a destination for prominent and younger players.
That would represent a major change from the over-the-hill gang that's trudged its way from Europe to the U.S. ever since Soccer landed in the States. Dos Santos moving while he still has his best years ahead of him could be the start of something new.
It's the view taken by ESPN FC scribe Andrea Canales. Before all the i's were officially dotted and the t's crossed, she heralded the transfer as the start of a new trend for Major League Soccer:
The signing of Giovani dos Santos by the Los Angeles Galaxy, if it happens, would represent a new phase for all involved -- the team, the player and Major League Soccer. Bringing in a new star in his prime to a country where a large media and fan contingent can watch him flourish is an important advance for a league looking to shake off the label of retirement destination.
Whether or not Canales' words prove prophetic will be determined by Dos Santos' success in Los Angeles. That will depend on a player who's so often flattered to deceive finally putting it altogether.
If he does, Dos Santos can be the star of Major League Soccer for the next decade.