Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl dropped some major knowledge on the Sacha Kljestan saga today, reporting that Bruce Arena is going to receive a fine for his criticism of the situation and also confirming that the situation unfolded exactly as Arena described it.
Don Garber says candidly in the interview with Sports Illustrated that Kljestan wanted a six month contract to play for Los Angeles after which point he would go back to Anderlecht. On the surface this runs counter to common sense. The Galaxy are freeing up a Designated Player spot in six months which could be used on Kljestan. Why would he chose to return to a Belgium club in the middle of its season instead of signing for longer in Los Angeles? What benefit does he get from spending six months in LA? Sunshine?
It could be that the sticking point was on Anderlecht's side, wanting to do a six month loan without the option to purchase his contract. That would separate this deal from ones like Christian Wilhelmsson where he came over free midseason and was free to re-sign but chose not to. It would also make it technically different than Julio Ceasar, who spent the pre-World Cup portion of the year with Toronto FC but was recalled early from his loan after the tournament.
Bruce Arena claimed to reporters shortly after the deal fell through that moving Kofi Opare to move up the Allocation Ranking was to get Kljestan, and then forces inside the league conspired to shut the deal down. There were also reports that FC Dallas made a claim on Kljestan, but Garber's comments here seem to acknowledge directly that LA were at the negotiating table but had the deal rejected by the league.
Kljestan would have complimented Alan Gordon in the category of players brought in at midseason because the offseason signings haven't panned out that well. Samuel has been recalled, Rob Friend is a ghost, and Baggio Husidic has been hit or miss.
This isn't the first time Bruce Arena has been fined by the league for critical comments. Don Garber seemed almost disappointed talking about the situation, saying that Arena could be the league's poster child but that he emotionally misstates the facts.
Seems like the situation would be much simpler if MLS just practiced a bit of transparency.