L.A. Now

Galaxy signs top Norwegian defender Jorgen Skjelvik

The Galaxy have acquired highly touted Norwegian defender Jorgen Skjelvik, according to a club official familiar with the negotiations.

The 6-foot Skjelvik, 26, suited up for his country a little less than a month ago and has played at multiple levels throughout the Norwegian national-team system. He will be a welcome addition to a Galaxy defense that gave up a franchise-record 67 goals in 2017.

Skjelvik, predominantly a left-footed player, will leave Norwegian side Rosenborg BK on a free transfer before Jan. 1 after making more than 160 appearances for the club and totaling six goals and 13 assists.

He will depart Europe after winning three Norwegian championships, two Norwegian Cups and one Swedish Cup, one Swedish championship and the Norwegian Super Cup. He's also played in 12 Europa League matches.

Skjelvik can play both center back positions and also has played at left back, reminding many of former Galaxy standout Jelle Van Damme, who departed the club last year for personal reasons.

Skjelvik could be paired with current center backs Michael Ciani, Daniel Steres and Dave Romney, and might even take over for left-back Ashley Cole, who is without a contract. Club officials, however, remain hopeful Cole will re-sign.

Estimates put Skjelvik’s salary at more than $900,000 a year, making him one of Major League Soccer’s highest-paid defenders (New England's Claude Dielna is the highest-paid defender in the league, according to MLS Players Union figures, at $909,861).

But with an influx of league money — nearly $4 million for players whose salaries are over the league’s maximum budget of $500,000 — Skjelvik could be a steal for the five-time MLS Cup champions who are rebuilding their roster following the worst season in franchise history.

The Galaxy finished 8-18-8 l and won just three games at StubHub Center.

An official announcement from the club on Skjelvik’s acquisition is expected in the coming days.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World