While Liga MX fans are turning their focus to the first legs of the semifinal series, there has been no shortage of headlines to keep track of.
Hugo Sánchez looks to be closing in on the Cruz Azul job in place of the not-yet departed Juan Reynoso. The problem is the Cementeros need the Peruvian to accept a lower buy-out than is stipulated in his contract, a sum that multiplied dramatically after Reynoso led “La Máquina” to the Liga MX title a year ago.
In other coaching news, Rafa Puente – an FC Juárez assistant coach the past two seasons – is desperately trying to convince ownership that he is the right man to succeed “Tuca” Ferretti as coach of the Bravos. And León is talking to Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle about Portuguese coach Renato Paiva.
Toluca’s young central defender Haret Ortega is said to be a Fenerbahce target, so much so that the Turkish club’s fans went nuts after the 21-year-old Guerrero native followed them on his Instagram account.
Potentially headed back in the other direction is Orbelín Pineda. The former Cementeros / Chivas / Gallos Blancos playmaker is eager to get playing time ahead of this year’s World Cup and he has not seen much of the pitch since joining Celta de Vigo in January. He is apparently willing to return to Liga MX to save his spot on the El Tri roster.
Blockbuster investment offer tempts Liga MX
The biggest news of the week so far was a Sportico.com report that Apollo Global Management was lining up a $1.25 billion-dollar investment deal in exchange for a share of the league’s international media revenue.
The offer reportedly asks for “20% of the profits from the league’s non-Mexican media rights over the next 50 years.”
Liga MX pundits quickly pointed out that a major sticking point would be getting clubs to pool their rights, a practice not currently in use. Big clubs such as América and Chivas control their own rights and might be unwilling to sacrifice the lucrative contracts they can sign on their own.
Roster shuffling already under way at UNAM
Media reports indicate Sebastián Saucedo will join Toluca next season. This is not a surprise as Pumas management had said the 25-year-old winger and forward Rogerio de Oliveira would not be back with the team next season.
Pumas fans were treated to a roller-coaster season as the overachieving “felinos” reached the Concacaf Champions League Final then qualified for a Liga MX wildcard spot on the final matchday.
Now the front office is scrambling to prepare for the Apertura 2022, in hopes of making it back to the Liga MX playoffs despite payroll limitations. In addition to the two subtractions mentioned above, it appears certain that captain Alfredo Talavera will depart and star striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno could be a casualty, too.
Talavera, the veteran goalie and MVP of the Pumas two of the past three seasons, is out of contract and extension talks didn’t go well. The 39-year-old netminder wanted a 2-year deal while UNAM initially offered just one year.
Hot stove rumors have “Tala” going to the Chivas. If he does, Guadalajara backstop Raúl Gudiño could be sent the CU.
As for Dinenno, Cruz Azul is said to be preparing a bid for the scoring ace who has netted 40 goals in 89 appearances for the Pumas since arriving to Liga MX three years ago.