Confirmed sources Athleticism that LAFC added another attacking option on Thursday, when they finalized a deal to acquire Gabon international Denis Bouanga for a fee of around $5 million from French club Saint-Etienne. Bouanga, the sources said, will be the club’s third designated player.

Bouanga, 27, registered nine goals and six assists in 34 Ligue 1 appearances last season, most of them in his natural position as a left winger. It was put on the market following Saint-Etienne’s relegation to Ligue 2, with LAFC’s offer prevailing over reported interest from Scottish club Rangers, French club Lille and Belgian clubs Anderlecht and of Club Brugge.

His arrival should give LAFC another powerful element in an offense that has recorded the second most goals in MLS this season. It also creates the ultimate first-world problem for head coach Steve Cherundolo: how will he distribute the minutes among LAFC’s stable of forwards?

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Bale and Carlos Vela are likely to be the two starting wingers, with Bouanga, Brian Rodriguez, recently returned from injury, and youngster Kwadwo Opoku possibly rotating into the XI whenever Cherundolo decides one of his stars to play. thirties need a break. Cristian Arango is the stalwart striker, but sources have confirmed LAFC kicked the tires by moving him on points this summer, and Bouanga played the striker 10 times for Saint-Etienne last season. Vela and Bale are also more than capable of lining up at No. 9, with Vela taking the role after Bale replaced Arango in the second half of LAFC’s win over Seattle last weekend. It’s conceivable that Arango, Rodriguez and Opoku could all head to the bench and LAFC could start a top three consisting of Bale, Bouanga and Vela, with each member of that top three alternating between winger and attacking during games.

Even with striker Danny Musovski and winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi traded earlier this week to Salt Lake and New England, respectively, there remain five high-profile and/or well-paid forwards who will no doubt think that they should start just about every game, plus a sixth in Opoku who has developed well this season. They will compete for three positions. Inevitably, some will not have as many minutes as they think they deserve. LAFC have been league class all season, but Cherundolo, still in his first year as first-team head coach, could have some tricky man-management work on his hands to balance their time in game and their emotions over time.

Another movement could be underway, however. There’s been a ton of talk about a potential Arango release, but it doesn’t necessarily make much sense. He’s not a perfect player – Cherundolo has sometimes criticized his defensive performances this year and noted he would like more of him in possession – but the Colombian has found the net at an incredible clip the past two months. He has nine goals and three assists in 16 league starts this season, including seven in LAFC’s last nine games. He’s also their only real number 9. Moving him around makes it look a little too cute.

Bouanga, for those who haven’t seen him play, is a fast, direct player who is good at dribbling and likes to run behind. He is also a keen set-piece and a very active presser, finishing last season in the 97th percentile of Ligue 1 forwards in number of pressure attempts. He could theoretically replace Arango up top, but LAFC would likely lose some capacity in the box if they made that change.

Offloading Rodriguez seems like a more manageable proposition. The Uruguayan DP has a ton of talent, but he’s never lived up to expectations in Southern California. It is also reportedly caught the attention of Mexican powerhouse Club América, who have until the Liga MX transfer window closes on September 5 to complete a deal. Cherundolo reportedly told Rodriguez and the LAFC front office that he would like to keep the 22-year-old, but given the club’s other options on the wing and the fact that they did very well without him during the most of this year, selling him after adding Bouanga doesn’t really seem to hurt their trophy chances.

It would also give the club some DP flexibility ahead of next summer when the guaranteed part of Bale’s contract expires. The club now has three DPs in Bouanga, Vela and Rodriguez. One of them would have to move for Bale’s option to be successful.

Of course, LAFC could just sit patiently and try to resolve any potential locker room complications that may arise with so many talented forwards competing for just three spots. Bouanga, who played 90 minutes in the Ligue 2 opener at Saint-Etienne last weekend, should arrive in a good level of fitness, but it will take time to process his work visa and the integrate into the team. With just two months left in the regular season, LAFC could reasonably slow down with it this year, make a championship run with its current team, and then maneuver as needed this winter ahead of what looks like a likely entry to the CONCACAF League champions.

Regardless of how the next few weeks go when it comes to LAFC’s roster, it’s one of those good headaches, the kind that every MLS team dreams of having. The club sit in first place in MLS one game behind their nearest rivals, are deeper than ever and loaded at almost every position. The Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double is very present in Los Angeles.

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