Los Angeles FC close to deal for Wesley Sneijder - sources
Los Angeles FC, the expansion team due to enter the MLS in 2018, is close to agreeing a two-year deal for Wesley Sneijder to become its first Designated Player, sources have told ESPN FC.
Netherlands midfielder Sneijder, currently with Turkish club Galatasaray, has been offered a contract worth $3.5 million-a-year to move to the under-construction Banc of California Stadium.
Senior management at LAFC believe that the capture of the former Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan star will deliver a clear statement of intent of the club's determination to become a new powerhouse in the MLS.
Sneijder, 33, still has 12 months to run on his contract with Galatasaray, but with LAFC not due to start its MLS campaign until March, Sneijder would remain in Istanbul for the remainder of 2017 before moving to Los Angeles in the new year.
ESPN FC reported in November that LAFC was chasing players of a "global stature," similar to LA Galaxy's capture of David Beckham from Real Madrid in 2007, to enable the club to make its mark on and off the pitch in the crowded American sporting landscape.
With New York City FC recruiting Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Frank Lampard since launching as an expansion team in 2015, LAFC is keen to follow a similar path in order to have a squad able to challenge for success in its first campaign in the MLS next year.
Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been a leading target prior to the Swede sustaining a knee ligament injury in April, which is expected to rule him out of action until January at the earliest.
But efforts to capture Sneijder have progressed well and the Dutch playmaker is now close to becoming the first star name to commit to the LAFC project.
Sneijder became the all-time most-capped Dutch player with his 131st international appearance in Netherlands' World Cup qualifier earlier this month. He has played at the last three World Cups.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_