LAFC’s French revolution – club signs Maxime Chanot and set to sign Olivier Giroud

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
LAFC's French Revolution is underway with the signing of defender Maxime Chanot and reports of FIFA World Cup sensation Olivier Giroud to join this summer.

LOS ANGELES — As they race to catch up with an already top-heavy Western Conference, LAFC made a splash this week with two chess moves ahead of the seventh weekend of MLS action, signing defender Maxime Chanot from French Ligue 2 team AC Ajaccio and, making significant headway in their pursuit of France’s all-time leading goal scorer Olivier Giroud, who is reported to be set to join the MLS club in the summer transfer window.

While the Black and Gold bounced back last weekend after a 3-match scoreless drought with a 5-0 win against Nashville SC lifting them from the bottom half of the Western Conference to the top half, the signs point to a team seeking reinforcements after faltering from their trademark style of aggressive, attacking soccer despite a more relaxed schedule this season.

Maxime Chanot, who will join LAFC through the end of the 2025 season pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate, will add needed depth to LAFC’s backline, possibly as a reinforcement for the position currently occupied by Jesús Murillo. “Maxime is a highly accomplished defender and a leader both on and off the field,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said “He is a proven winner in our league and will provide valuable experience to our backline as we continue to build our roster to compete for more trophies.”

The 34-year-old Luxembourg National Team centerback comes to Los Angeles with a plethora of experience in MLS as NYCFC’s former captain and 2021 MLS Cup champion, playing in 165 matches during his tenure there from 2016-2023. In 2019, Chanot was named the club’s best defender, and was one of six finalists for MLS Defender of the Year. He also captained them during their 2022 Campeones Cup Final win against Atlas FC. Chanot originally came to NYCFC after appearing in 82 total matches for K.V. Kortrijk of the Belgium Pro League.

The blossoming French connections didn’t end with Chanot’s announcement. On Tuesday, The Athletic’s Tom Bogart reported that LAFC is brokering a deal to sign France’s all-time leading scorer Olivier Giroud. The accomplished forward is leaving AC Milan as a free agent and is expcted to join the MLS club after Euro 2024 this summer. Even at the age of 37, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner remains one of the most stalwart offensive weapons for his club and country, notching 12 goals and assisting in 8 others for AC Milan, and being a crucial cog to Les Blues campaign for their third European title. A prolific striker, Giroud has scored 276 times in a career spanning 20 years, and has accumulated over 10 trophies playing for Milan, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Montpellier. He brings a rich tapestry of tournament experiences from playing in over 10 UEFA Champions Leagues to 3 FIFA World Cups (including 2 Finals, like his teammate Hugo Lloris). And, most importantly, Giroud will fill in as a tried and true number 9 in the vacuum left when Chicho Arango departed the club at the end of the 2022 season.

From former LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau (now at Porland Timbers) to the 2023 MLS Golden Boot winning Denís Bouanga, current goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Maxime Chanot and soon, Olivier Giroud, the French revolution of the wayward 2022 MLS Cup champions is underway!

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