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LA Galaxy 2021 Player Postmortem: Dejan Joveljić

Youngster looked to be settling in to new surroundings.

Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Dejan Joveljić was signed by the LA Galaxy in the summer transfer window. The Serbian international was LA’s first foray into the new “young money” U-22 initiative.

Coming from Eintracht Frankfurt, which has been something of a factory of young talent coming through in recent years, the forward was coming off a successful season in the Austrian Bundesliga, on loan with Wolfsburger AC, and we have seen some pretty seamless transitions between that league and MLS of late.

The idea of bringing a budding talent to play with and in place of Chicharito was intriguing, although also somewhat beguiling. Greg Vanney is known for his tactical flexibility, something we saw in 2021, with the team never really settling on a successful lineup and formation. But with Chicharito often playing as a lone central striker, where would Joveljić fit in? As a wide forward? A backup for now to Chicharito?

Yes, I guess. My hope is that Joveljić arrived, the Galaxy knew he hadn’t played soccer in a few months, and basically gave him the rest of the 2021 season to settle into the league and Los Angeles. Players coming from abroad often need ample time to acclimate, and with Joveljić turning 22 right after signing with the Galaxy, such a big move may necessitate some time to adjust.

Here are Joveljić’s stats with the Galaxy in 2021:

Dejan Joveljic 2021 LA Galaxy Statistics

2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS 14 6 717 2 2 17 7 3 0

Unquestionably Joveljić’s best game was against LAFC, where he scored a brace in a wild 3-3 draw in El Trafico.

The good news? He can score in a big game. The bad news? He was pretty quiet overall otherwise.

So we’ll see what 2022 brings for Joveljić. I think he remains in the Galaxy’s plans, to be sure, but I hope there is perhaps more clarity in his role and figuring out how he can contribute better. He seems awfully expensive to be a pure backup to Chicharito, but if the Mexican star gets hurt for a couple months for a third season running, then perhaps waiting in the wings makes sense. If Chicharito can stay healthy, however, then Joveljić kind of drifting along may not be the best use of club resources.

But I’m not ready to make any grand proclamations about Joveljić’s tenure just yet. There were a couple moments of magic in his first partial season with the Galaxy, and hopefully a full season will put the wind in his sails and push him on to be a regular contributor. Time will tell.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.