April 18, 2024

For the third time in 18 months, LAFC has landed a big-name European star, announcing Saturday that it has signed Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on a free transfer. The one-year deal, which includes club options for 2025 and 2026, is for $350,000, according to multiple sources not authorized to speak publicly about the deal, a steal for the most capped goalkeeper in World Cup history.

Lloris, 37, has started 20 World Cup games for France, including the 2018 and 2022 finals. He won the first and lost the second. But after 11½ seasons with Tottenham, eight as the team’s captain, Lloris has fallen out of favor in North London and hasn’t played a minute for the club this season.

With LAFC, Lloris is expected to compete for the starting job, but exactly who he’ll be competing with is uncertain. John McCarthy, who set career highs with 25 starts and eight shutouts last season, has signed a free-agent deal with the Galaxy, while Maxime Crepeau, who had three clean sheets in five playoff starts after returning from a broken leg, is out of contract.

Crepeau, 29, earned a base salary of $350,000 last season — the same amount LAFC gave Lloris — but is seeking a significant raise as a free agent. Twenty-one MLS goalkeepers had base salaries of more than $350,000 last season, according to the league’s players’ association. Aside from Lloris, the only keeper on the LAFC roster is Abraham Romero, 25, a former Mexican youth international who has not appeared in an MLS game.

The arrival of Lloris, who is expected to be in Los Angeles for the opening of training camp in mid-January, follows the summer 2022 signings of Italian captain Giorgio Chiellini and Welsh captain Gareth Bale, who helped LAFC win the MLS Cup that fall. Bale retired after the 2022 World Cup, while Chiellini returned to start 21 MLS games, including the playoffs, last season.

Bale’s base salary was $1.6 million, though he was paid about half that after arriving in midseason. Chiellini took home about $1.6 million in base pay in his two seasons. Add in Lloris’ 2024 contract and LAFC has signed three of the most accomplished European players of their generation for less than $3 million in base salary.

General manager John Thorrington still has work to do, however. Captain Carlos Vela, the last player remaining from the team’s inaugural roster in 2018, is a free agent as is World Cup midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Vela, 34, had a guaranteed contract worth nearly $4.4 million last season and would probably need to accept a substantial pay cut to return. Acosta, 28, earned a guaranteed $1.365 million in 2023.

Lloris, who has also played in a European Championship final for France and a Champions League final for Tottenham in a 19-year career, appeared in a record 145 games for France, captaining the team 121 times, before retiring from international soccer last year. His 447 appearances for Tottenham rank third in club history.

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