Time after time you’ve heard it from the pundits.
“Ola Kamara is not a winger.”
Spending most of last season as a left attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Kamara was often played out of position, leading some to suspect the Norwegian international could be surplus to requirements, or even a valuable trade chip who could go a long way towards helping the organization rebuild a defense that conceded 64 times in 2018.
LA have another need. The team has four Designated Players on the roster and one’s gotta go. While opinion is universal that the front office should move Giovani dos Santos, no one’s name has come up more than winger Romain Alessandrini. For months the Frenchman has been linked with a potential move to a Montreal Impact team that just sold midfielder Alejandro Silva for a record transfer fee, while Alessandrini’s agent recently confirmed interest from Serie A side Parma.
Parting ways with either would be a massive blunder.
Conventional footballing wisdom says Kamara is a classic No. 9 and therefore is not ideally suited to playing out of position.
On the contrary, the Norwegian international was surprisingly adept operating on the left wing and in a 4-4-2 alongside Ibrahimovic. Kamara tallied 14 goals and 3 assists, finishing in the Top 10 of the league scoring charts for the third year running. (Only David Villa, Bradley Wright-Philips and Ignacio Piatti have managed that feat)
Ola is a striker who prefers to stay in the shadows rather than have the game go through him, but his unique skillset offers something different and unpredictable up top.
In addition to scoring his fair share of tap-ins, we learned Kamara is a dangerous aerial threat as a second option with Zlatan occupying defenders, putting away finish after finish in the air. Ola scored through direct play on a few occasions, not a bad feat on a team that was simply dreadful on the counter-attack. Famously during El Trafico II, it was Kamara’s intelligent movement that allowed him to intercept Andre Horta’s wayward pass and round LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller before passing into an empty net.
Even if new boss Guillermo Barros Schelotto decides to implement a 4-3-3 formation where speedy wide forwards are absolutely critical to the formation’s success, Kamara would likely continue to produce.
Romain Alessandrini’s value to the team is obvious. The former Marseille winger is an integral piece of the LA attack, contributing 11 goals and 9 assists last season and 13 goals and 12 assists during a horrific 2017 campaign. The Frenchman possess intangibles still in short supply, namely the ability to create his own shot paired with a deadly finish. A competitor and proven winner, Romain loves playing for the Galaxy.
Yes, LA could always part with Alessandrini to get themselves out of the DP logjam, but the organization must resist the temptation to take the easy way out.
With a limited window until the 2019 season kicks off, DtK and GBS don’t have much time to shape and mold the roster to their liking. While the Galaxy have pressing needs, the organization cannot realistically part ways with Kamara or Alessandrini without taking a giant step backwards.
Ideally the club must bite the bullet and get rid of Gio (who according to Ives has already rejected an transfer bid from another club) while adding pieces to the already functioning attack and prioritizing defensive reinforcements.