LA Galaxy transfer Juninho to Tijuana as salary dump continues

LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho has completed a transfer to Mexico's Club Tijuana for an undisclosed fee as the MLS club continues to dump salary.

Juninho's move comes in the same week that the Galaxy sent center-back Omar Gonzalez to Pachuca.

The deals will help the Galaxy free up salary-cap space to sign former England international Ashley Cole, with a source confirming to ESPN FC that they have offered the defender a non-designated player contract.

Juninho, 26, made 180 starts for the Galaxy since joining the club in 2010. The Brazilian initially joined on loan from Sao Paulo before signing a permanent deal three years later.

During his tenure with the Galaxy he scored 18 goals and helped Los Angeles win three MLS Cups.

"We thank Juninho for his contributions on and off the field during his time here," said coach Bruce Arena. "We wish him the best of luck with Tijuana."

Juninho made $350,000 in 2015, the fifth-highest salary on the Galaxy behind designated players Steven Gerrard, Giovani Dos Santos and Robbie Keane and the now-departed Gonzalez.

Earlier this month, the Galaxy also declined options on goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts ($260,000 in 2015) and midfielder Mike Vayrynen ($227,500).

By taking more than $2 million toward their salary cap off the books, the Galaxy now have the freedom to reinvent a team that crashed out of the playoffs in the opening knockout round.

Club president Chris Klein said the team will be "aggressive" in adding new signings.

"We don't like to lose players that are important to us, and that is Omar and Juninho," Klein told the Galaxy's website. "However, the Galaxy has shown over the course of our history that we will have players that will leave, and we will replace them with players that will make our team stronger. That's our aim and focus.

"Nothing has changed, and we're going to be as aggressive as we've ever been heading into 2016."

Juninho posted a letter thanking fans, just as Gonzalez did earlier in the week.

"It has been a privilege and an honor to have worn the LA Galaxy jersey for the past six seasons," he wrote. "I have worn it with pride, however, it is time for me to trade in my Galaxy jersey for a new one.

"I've always welcomed the opportunity for growth and for change. To play for Club Tijuana in Mexico is a tremendous opportunity for me."

Juninho could play one more game at StubHub Center as the Galaxy host Tijuana in a preseason friendly Feb. 9.