Major League Soccer

LAFC signs defender Sergi Palencia from Saint-Étienne

(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles FC signed Spanish defender Sergi Palencia on Thursday to a two-year contract through the 2024 season.

The 26-year-old Palencia is joining the defending Major League Soccer champions from Saint-Etienne in France's Ligue 2. His deal with LAFC includes a contract option for 2025.

Palencia was a former teammate of LAFC forward Denis Bouanga at Saint-Etienne, where he appeared in only nine games. He spent the previous two seasons on loan at Leganes in the Spanish second division.

Palencia and new LAFC teammate Ilie Sanchez are both products of Barcelona's famed La Masia youth academy.

LAFC has undergone significant turnover since winning the franchise's first title last year. Gareth Bale surprised LAFC by retiring shortly before the start of training camp, and star Colombian forward Cristian "Chicho" Arango moved to Liga MX's Pachuco on Wednesday in a cost-saving decision that significantly depletes LAFC's talent and depth up front.

LAFC has an open designated player slot alongside Bouanga and Carlos Vela. The club already added promising 20-year-old Croatian forward Stipe Biuk in the offseason.

AP soccer: and

Updated February 2, 2023

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