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MLS: Kekuta Manneh Earns US Citizenship, LA Galaxy Thinking Big

CARSON, CA - JANUARY 11: Kekuta Manneh. The United States Men's National Team held their first training session under new head coach Bruce Arena on The Murphy Family Field at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. (Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kekuta Manneh’s last international action came with the Gambia youth national team. Now the Vancouver Whitecaps triggerman inches closer to earning his big break with Bruce Arena’s USA Men’s National Team with his American citizenship secured. Manneh was in camp with the national team this week at the StubHub Center while the MLS Combine wrapped up.

“It’s been a long process,” Manneh said. “We’ve been doing it for years. It finally came true. I’m really excited, happy; it’s good news for the family. It’s been a while. It’s good to be out here with the rest of the guys, looking forward to the rest of the camp.”

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“Good young player,” said Arena of Manneh. “He’s returning from an injury so I don’t think we’re going to expect too much from him early. Hopefully he can get through the next week healthy and start showing what he’s capable of doing.”

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Could Stefan Frei also be in the mix to represent the States? Even though he was born in Switzerland, Frei is a longtime resident of the USA and if his citizenship is secured, the Seattle Sounder shot stopping sensation could also be a worthy fill-in for the injured Tim Howard and also push Brad Guzan for some minutes in goal.

“That one I can’t go into much detail,” said Arena of Frei’s situation, “because I’m sure I’ll end up putting my foot in my mouth and be wrong, but I think if you hold a Swiss passport, the ability to become a US citizen is a pretty rapid exercise.”

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As for the team Arena left, Curt Onalfo’s LA Galaxy want Jonathan Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini to occupy their Designated Player slots and allow the Super Dos Santos Brothers to run the show in La La Land. From…

The 26-year-old midfielder is enjoying a career year with Spanish side Villarreal, but sources say he is strongly considering a big-money offer from the Galaxy, who are eager to make at least one high-profile signing this winter after seeing Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard leave the club. Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos came up together in the Barcelona youth ranks, but they never played first-team soccer together at the Spanish giant. The two El Tri standouts reunited at Villarreal for the 2014-15 season before Giovani left to sign with the LA Galaxy.

Jonathan is enjoying considerable success this season with Villarreal, and a move to MLS right now will come as a surprise. But a desire to reunite with his brother along with the belief being that an MLS move wouldn’t necessarily mean the death knell to his international career could make the decision easier. Giovani’s return to the national team fold last year serves as clear evidence that Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio wouldn’t necessarily write off Jonathan if he decides to join the Galaxy.

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As for Alessandrini, he has been passed over at Olympique de Marseille by the likes of Florian Thauvin, Remy Cabella and Clinton Njie and would certainly earn plenty of minutes in LA blue and gold. Marseille paid a €5 million transfer fee in moving him from Stade Rennais FC and did make 57 league and cup appearances during his first two seasons with OM, scoring 11 goals.

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