Beginning with what we do know, the LA Galaxy's star midfielder Juninho has re-signed with Sao Paulo for another three years. He had been on loan to the Galaxy for two years of his old five year contract with Sao Paulo. Juninho only made one appearance for the Tricolor Paulista in that time, while making 55 appearances with the LA Galaxy.
Juninho is only 22, played on the Sao Paulo youth team, signed to the senior club as a 17 year old, then came to America at 20. Now a married 22 year old, the re-signing is being talked about as a chance to earn a starting position with Sao Paulo. His success in America, plus his time learning from David Beckham, made him an attractive prospect once again for his home club.
Approached by Sao Paulo before the Galaxy season had ended, Juninho also fielded offers from other Brazilian Clubs and teams from the Mexican league. Bruce Arena said to the press that a contract had been offered from the Galaxy, but it wasn't that simple for Juninho. Talking with him before the Galaxy left for their Pacific Asian tour, he said:
"Right now I'm in a situation where I don't have a contract with the Galaxy. I'm going to go back to Brazil, and weigh my options. Bruce has already started talks with Sao Paulo and my representatives. I'm just going to let it play out and hope for the best."
Galaxy fans were hoping that Bruce Arena could work out a deal with Sao Paulo to buy the emerging star. His contract with his home club was good through May 2012. Deciding to renew with Sao Paulo means he won't become a permanent Galaxy fixture, but doesn't rule out the possibility of another loan deal.
If Bruce Arena had worked out a deal, it would have involved a six month loan and then the offer of a contract to Juninho.
"The club in Brazil definitely wants something in return. They have other options and offers, so it's not [that] easy"
When asked if he wanted to come back, he didn't even wait for the translation. He just said in a strong, clear voice "Yes!"
What we've learned these last two days is that his home club choice renewal as their best option financially. The fact that selling Juninho to the Galaxy or a Mexican league club wasn't the best option financially means they see Juninho having a place on the team in the future. However, that doesn't mean they see him as having a place on the team now.
Until Bruce Arena says on the record that talks have ended with Juninho's agent, there's no reason not to believe Juninho couldn't return on another loan deal. We know a little bit more now, but realistically there's so much more we don't know. So, as we wait for the Polaroid of the Big Picture to crystalize, let's all just take a deep breath and think of all the good times Vitor Gomes Periera Junior gave Galaxy fans over the last two years.