Former Chelsea and English national team defender Ashley Cole is on the verge of moving to Major League Soccer, where he’ll sign for the LA Galaxy. Former Manchester City and current AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong is said to be joining him in short order.
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A month after failing to lift the MLS Cup for just the second time this decade, the Galaxy seem happy to spare no expense as they effort a widespread roster rebuild after seeing the club’s championship window close on its most recent incarnation.
Cole, who turned 35 in December, had been under contract with Serie A side Roma since the summer of 2014, but on Saturday agreed a deal with the Italian club to terminate the remainder of his contract. He is now free to sign with any club in the world. The LA Times reported on Saturday that the Galaxy’s announcement of Cole’s signing could come as soon as Tuesday.
According to that report, Cole will join the Galaxy on a non-Designated Player contract, though his agreement with Roma will see him earn a hefty chunk of cash on top of his roughly $400,000 annual salary with the Galaxy. Robbie Rogers is currently the Galaxy’s starting left back, though the 28-year-old began his career as a winger before sliding back to left back in 2014.
De Jong, 31, finds himself in a similar situation to that of Cole, still needing his current contract to be terminated before he can sign for the Galaxy. With midfield stalwart Juninho recently departed for Liga MX side Club Tijuana, De Jong figures to slot in as the starting defensive midfielder on opening day, should he ultimately land in Southern California.
We can only hope, for the Galaxy’s sake, Cole and De Jong will have been made aware of some of the challenges that face players coming to MLS for the first time (i.e. the travel, the altitude and turf fields). Cole’s old England running mate, Steven Gerrard, would be the perfect man to do it.