LA Galaxy to re-sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Designated Player, hire Caleb Porter as coach - sources
The LA Galaxy are set to re-sign forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a new deal as well as hire Caleb Porter as their new coach, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
The moves were first reported by The Athletic.
The deal will make Ibrahimovic a Designated Player, meaning the Galaxy will have to move one of their three existing DPs -- Gio dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, and Romain Alessandrini -- out of the club before the start of the 2019 season.
The former Sweden international was already under contract for 2019 but had long chafed over a deal that paid him just $1.5 million in 2018, despite him scoring 22 goals along with 10 assists.
Ibrahimovic's dissatisfaction reportedly led to the possibility of him returning to AC Milan, but now he will remain with the Galaxy.
Porter, 43, has been biding his time ever since leaving the Portland Timbers at the conclusion of the 2017 season and has found his landing spot.
He'll take over from Sigi Schmid, who parted ways with the club back in September, and Dominic Kinnear, who managed the club on an interim basis for the last two months of the season.
Porter already has a built-in relationship with Galaxy president Chris Klein, as the two were college roommates at Indiana University where they both played. The two were spotted attending Monday night's NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, alongside newly appointed Galaxy GM Dennis te Kloese and AEG CEO Dan Beckerman.
Born in the Netherlands, te Kloese comes to L.A. after working for Mexico's soccer federation since 2011. He has previous MLS experience, having worked for defunct club Chivas USA from 2005-08.
"The LA Galaxy and its supporters expect to compete for championships year-in and year-out. I am fully committed to putting together a team capable of competing at the highest level. That work begins immediately and will encompass a wide range of responsibilities, from developing competitive edges in our scouting, recruiting and player development to establishing our youth initiatives and further establishing our Academy," te Kloese said on Tuesday.
Porter enjoyed considerable success with the Timbers, leading the team to its first playoff appearance in 2013, his inaugural season in the Rose City. He reached the top of the MLS mountain two seasons later, winning the MLS Cup in a 2-1 road victory over Columbus Crew SC.
However, the Timbers twice missed the postseason during Porter's five-year tenure, though Portland made it back to the playoffs in 2017.
Porter proved to be an adaptable manager during his time in Portland, instituting a possession-based style dubbed "Porter-ball" during his early seasons there. But he also revealed a pragmatic side during that spell and wasn't afraid to play a defend-and-counter style when needed.
What the appointment means for Kinnear is still to be determined.