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Maxime Chanot joining Los Angeles FC: Report

L'Equipe says the defender who left New York City FC in late August will return to MLS, signing with LAFC on a contract through December 2025.

Next time you see him, he might be wearing the Black and Gold of LAFC. Photo:

Maxime Chanot is reportedly making the move back to MLS, but he won't be returning to New York City FC.

Instead, L'Equipe reports he will leave AC Ajaccio in France's Ligue 2 for Los Angeles FC.

The French outlet says Chanot will "commit until December 2025" to LAFC, winners of MLS Cup 2022 and consistent Western Conference contenders since their 2018 league debut.

Chanot surprisingly left New York City FC late last August, returning to France in a move that initially was framed, in part, around his desire to play closer to his home and his family.

Cracks in that amicable-club-and-player-separation narrative first emerged when Chanot made a suggestive, slightly shady social media post in response to some Nick Cushing post-match comments in the days immediately after Chanot's departure.

When Hudson River Blue's Andrew Leigh interviewed Chanot about the launch of his new New York City youth soccer academy in January, Chanot said of his departure from NYCFC: "It wasn’t expected at all. My target was to retire at the club. Was I happy with the situation? No, I think that’s what you want to hear. Do I want to speak bad about the club? No, because I’ve got too much respect for them and I just wish the best for the club, the best for my teammates."

Now Chanot's former New York City teammates might have a chance to see their old friend in action, much closer to home than when he's been in France playing for Ajaccio.

For its part, LAFC might see in Chanot a veteran presence to fill the void left by the retirement of legendary Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Aaron Long and Jesus Murillo have been the regular center-back pairing for LAFC, but Chanot gives them another player who is used to playing in the MLS Cup Playoffs and winning MLS Cup. After all, Chanot was outspoken in his desire during the 2023 season to not see New York City's playoff qualification streak end on his watch.

Since Chanot split with New York City FC, the club's playoff qualification streak did in fact end, and NYCFCy earl in 2024 has remained outside the playoff places, planted down near the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.

Chanot has made 22 appearances in all competitions for Ajaccio post-New York City FC, helping lead the Corsican club to 12th place in Ligue 2 with nine league matches still to play before the season ends.

Most notably on a personal level for Chanot, he suffered a setback with his Luxembourg national team.

Luxembourg was facing Georgia in the semifinals of the qualifying playoffs for a spot in this summer's UEFA European Championship. Chanot received a controversial red card after a VAR review in the 56th minute of that match, which Luxembourg went on to lose 2-0, falling short of Euros qualification.

Now Chanot, who confirmed in his interview with Hudson River Blue that he is now officially an American citizen, appears ready to call MLS and the United States home again.

It will likely be an odd experience for followers of NYCFC to watch a player we've described as the heart and soul of the club wearing the jersey of another MLS side, though perhaps it dulls the pain at least a bit that it's a team clear across the country in the Western Conference that also has no 2024 match scheduled against Chanot's former club.