Top 10 Liga MX transfers ahead of Apertura 2021

France international Florian Thauvin has joined countryman André-Pierre Gignac at Tigres. (Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
France international Florian Thauvin has joined countryman André-Pierre Gignac at Tigres. (Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX top 10 transfers
Erick Aguirre (right) captained El Tri to a berth in the Olympics. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images) /

The Apertura 2021 is three weeks out so most Liga MX teams continue tweaking rosters ahead of their season openers. With 16 weeks remaining in the transfer window, general managers will have time to make additional personnel decisions.

Since the Guardianes 2021 ended on May 30 with Cruz Azul hoisting the trophy, Liga MX fans have been titillated and teased with acquisitions and rumors involving World Cup winners. French international Florian Thauvin (2018 World Cup) has joined Liga MX, while German Lukas Podolski (2014 World Cup) opted not to accept an offer from Querétaro, deciding to retire and become a game show judge.

Some teams have undergone wholesale makeovers (Atlético de San Luis brought in 14 new faces while letting 15 walk), while others are standing pat (the champion Cementeros brought in one player, traded two).

Both Monterrey teams and Grupo Pachuca’s two clubs made big moves, as did Necaxa, while América did more subtraction than addition. All four of those teams made transactions that caught our attention as big-time transactions.

Top 10 Liga MX Transfers Thus Far

Florian Thauvin, Tigres

(from Marseille)

The playmaking winger played just one minute (against Argentina in the Round of 16) in Russia 2018 for Didier Deschamp when France won the World Cup, but his signing is considered a big deal since we are talking about a European in his prime (Thauvin is 28) coming to play in Liga MX. He is only three years removed from a 22-goal season in Ligue 1 and he’ll team up with compatriot André-Pierre Gignac at Tigres (when the French pair return from the Olympics where they’ll face Mexico in their group stage opener).

Erick Aguirre, Monterrey

(from Pachuca)

The versatile 24-year-old captained El Mini Tri to victory in the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament and he is thought to be a solid bet to migrate to Europe before too long. He already has 15 Liga MX season under his belt after debuting for the Tuzos at 17. It will be interesting to see how Javier Aguirre uses him (at left fullback or in midfield).

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Santiago Ormeño, León

(from Puebla)

A late-bloomer, the 27-year-old striker scored 17 goals in the past two seasons for the Camoteros and his 9 goals led all Mexican scorers in Liga MX last season. He’ll be asked to step in at the point of attack for an Esmeraldas squad that has lacked a striker with a nose for goal the past two seasons.

Joel Campbell, Monterrey

(from León)

The frisky Costa Rican forward fills a need after the Rayados released Dorlan Pabón and traded Avilés Hurtado. At 29, Campbell can boast about nine years in Europe before joining León in 2019 and helping the Esmeraldas win the Liga MX title in December 2020.

Nicolás Ibañez, Pachuca

(from Atlético de San Luis)

The regal Argenine striker scored 57 goals in four years with the Tuneros and his 10 goals last season were second-best in Liga MX. The Tuzos have not had a productive center forward since Franco Jara left for MLS a year ago. Nico should make an excellent target man for the Pachuca attack.

Avilés Hurtado, Pachuca

(from Monterrey)

The swift winger has struggled to rediscover his rhythm on a deep Monterrey team after a series of niggling injuries culminating in knee surgery in 2020. His playmaking skills should find him plenty of playing time in Pachuca, especially if he can quickly develop a rapport with Ibáñez.

Salvador Reyes, América

(from Puebla)

The 23-year-old fullback with a winger’s mentality logged over 2,000 minutes of playing time last season as the upstart Camoteros made a deep run into the playoffs. If he continues the promising form he showed, he will earn considerable more exposure with the Aguilas.

Liga MX top 10 transfers
Marcelo Barovero, during his tenure with Necaxa (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Marcelo Barovero, Atlético de San Luis

(from Burgos)

The former River Plate star came to Liga MX in summer 2016 and starred for newly promoted Necaxa for seven seasons (winning a Copa MX) followed by three seasons of success at Monterrey. The steady vet should provide security for the struggling Tuneros who featured the most porous defense in Liga MX last season.

Hugo González, FC Juárez

(from Monterrey)

The 30-year-old netminder played well enough for the Rayados to earn several call-ups to El Tri, but Monterrey fans never forgave him for his miscues in the Apertura 2017 Finals against the hated Tigres and their coach Ricardo Ferretti. Now, Hugo will play for “Tuca” who knows he is getting a savvy, tough-minded keeper who can provide certainty to a mediocre Bravos team.

Jonathan González, Necaxa

(from Monterrey)

The 22-year-old defensive midfielder fell down the pecking order at Monterrey the past two years after taking the Liga MX by storm as a teenager. His pesky presence in midfield should provide a steady platform for the Rayos to move forward as they aim to escape the cellar. His starring role for Monterrey in 2018-2019 led to a border battle as El Tri and Team USA fought over him. He’s hoping his loan spell at Necaxa can revive his national team career.

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Honorable Mentions

Monterrey picked up veteran Team Mexico defender Héctor Moreno from Qatari side Al-Gharafa after releasing long-time back-liner Nico Sánchez. Striker Mauro Quiroga returns to the scene of his greatest Liga MX glory – Necaxa – after two lost seasons with Pachuca and Atlético de San Luis. Yairo Moreno enjoyed a career revival at León when coach Ignacio Ambriz shifted him from wing to a hybrid fullback position. He joins Pachuca just six months removed from helping the Esmeraldas win a Liga MX title. Omar Fernández starred alongside Santi Ormeño at Puebla the past three seasons and will continue as his sidekick at León.