The MLS transfer window may be closed, but clubs can still sign free agents for a couple more weeks, and the LA Galaxy have taken advantage, announcing on Wednesday they have signed defender Martín Cáceres through the 2022 season with a club option for the 2023 season. To facilitate the deal, the Galaxy acquired an international roster slot in a trade with the Chicago Fire for the rest of 2022, in exchange for $50,000 in general allocation money.
“Martín is a highly experienced and versatile defender that brings leadership, strong mentality and more championship pedigree to our team,” said LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney in a team statement. “We look forward to quickly integrating him into the group for the final phase of the season.”
Cáceres, 35, joins after an extensive career around the world. Beginning his pro career in his home country of Uruguay with Defensor Sporting in 2006, he moved to Spain to play for Recreativo de Huelta in 2007, before moving to FC Barcelona the next season. After spending one campaign at the Catalan giants, he moved to Italian titans Juventus in 2011, playing more games there than any other club in his career. He’s also featured at Sevilla, and he later had a cup of coffee in the Premier League at Southampton, then moved back to Italy, going to Hellas Verona in 2017, then to Lazio, then back to Juventus, and then to Fiorentina. Last season, he split his time between Cagliari in Italy and Levante in Spain.
That’s a lot of clubs, but Cáceres has been part of several winning teams, including the historic 2008-09 Barcelona team that won the treble (and then some), then went on to win six Serie A titles and two Coppas Italia.
On the international front, Cáceres has arguably an even more extensive resumé. Making 112 appearances for the Uruguay national team, he’s won the Copa América in 2011, played in the World Cup semifinal run for his country in 2010, and played in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
A versatile defender, Cáceres has played along the entire backline in his career, and has found opportunities because of his ability to move around the defense as needed.
This is something of a “swing for the fences” move, which the Galaxy seem to need as they fight to reach the playoffs this year, but they also have some flexibility that they can part ways with him after the season if it doesn’t work out, which is smart. Cáceres was never a superstar and has bounced around a lot in his career, but if he buys in and is still in good shape, this could be a good shot in the arm to a defense that’s been faltering lately.
It’s worth noting, the Galaxy are at the mercy of the immigration bureaucracy here, as we’re just over a month away from the end of the regular season. Hopefully Cáceres arrives soon, so he gets time to get in the mix and see some playing time, or else this surprise move may be a bit moot. But, we’ll see what happens.
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