CARSON, Calif. (AP) French midfielder Romain Alessandrini joined the LA Galaxy as a designated player Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Alessandrini spent the past 2 1/2 seasons with Marseille, his hometown club. He previously spent two seasons with Rennes in France’s top league.
Alessandrini had 11 goals and nine assists in his Marseille career, but made only eight appearances this season. His playing time was likely to decrease even more with the recent arrival of Dimitri Payet from West Ham.
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With his career stalled at Marseille, Alessandrini elected to start over with the Galaxy, who have revamped their roster after failing to win their record sixth MLS title last season.
In an interview with the Galaxy’s website, Alessandrini said he is coming to “the best club in the United States.” He cited former Galaxy stars David Beckham and Steven Gerrard as inspirations for his move.
“He is in the prime of his career, and has spent time playing at a top division in Europe,” Galaxy general manager Peter Vagenas said in a statement. “Romain will play a valuable role in our team’s success this season.”
Alessandrini fills one of the Galaxy’s two vacant designated player slots after the offseason departures of Robbie Keane and Gerrard, who left along with Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, Jeff Larentowicz, Leonardo, Alan Gordon and Bruce Arena, their longtime coach and general manager.
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Mexican star Giovani Dos Santos occupies a designated player slot, and the third seems likely to go to Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme, who is returning from an outstanding debut season with the Galaxy.
Alessandrini’s speed down the left side will boost the Galaxy’s offseason makeover of their midfield alongside fellow newcomers Joao Pedro and Jermaine Jones. Sebastian Lletget is likely to get a larger role along with fellow holdover Emmanuel Boateng.
The Galaxy began camp earlier in January under new coach Curt Onalfo. They open the regular season March 4.