Toluca stocks up for a run at AP22 hardware, and other Liga MX news

Toluca coach Ignacio Ambriz will be expected to return the Diablos to the Liga MX playoffs after the club has overhauled the roster. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Toluca coach Ignacio Ambriz will be expected to return the Diablos to the Liga MX playoffs after the club has overhauled the roster. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
Liga MX toluca et al
Jean Meneses (left) and Fernando Navarro (center) hope to rediscover the championship magic they enjoyed with coach Ignacio Ambriz at León and challenge for a Liga MX title with Toluca. (Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images) /

In desperate need of a talent upgrade, it’s no surprise that Toluca has been a popular topic of Liga MX Hot Stove League chatter ahead of the Apertura 2022.

The Diablos were quick out of the gate, bringing in three members of the León dynasty built by Ignacio Ambriz – defender Andrés Mosquera, and playmakers Fernando Navarro and Jean Meneses – and hauling Brazilian goalie Tiago Volpi back to Liga MX where he led a modest Querétaro team to the Clausura 2015 final.

“Los Choriceros” also acquired winger Sebastián Saucedo from the Pumas, but they were not done wheeling and dealing, still searching for a dynamic scoring threat.

In early June, initial whispers about Toluca’s pursuit of Luuk de Jong were scoffed at, but it turned out there was a serious offer on the table for Sevilla to consider. The sticking point was the Dutchman’s excessive wage demands and not with the La Liga club itself, particularly since de Jong is out of contract come July.

Soon thereafter Toluca was said to be pursuing prolific striker Radamel Falcao. The Diablos considered making an offer to the 36-year-old Colombia international but nothing has come of that either.

So it turns out, maybe Carlos González is the answer coach Ambriz was looking for. The Paraguayan front man played for “Nacho” at Necaxa back in 2017-2018, scoring 13 goals for the Rayos in his first year in Liga MX. Since then, “Cocoliso” has had success with UNAM (32 goals in 82 games) and as a late-game sub with the Tigres (11 goals in 2021-2022).

The 29-year-old González would make for a fine target-man in an offense featuring Navarro, Meneses and holdover Leo Fernández, especially if former Liga MX Golden Boot winner Alexis Canelo is not retained. Canelo – the top scorer in the Guardianes 2021 season – is out of contract at the end of this month though Toluca has an option for another year.

In brief: Wingback Yairo Moreno is back with León, after his loan deal to Pachuca expired. He joins Byron Castillo and Lucas DiYorio as reinforcements for the Esmeraldas who be under the direction of a new coach, Renato Paiva. The 52-year-old Portuguese manager will make his Liga MX debut on July 3 when “La Fiera” visits Atlético de San Luis.

The enigmatic Moreno leaves Pachuca with some question marks after a hissy fit prompted Tuzos coach Guillermo Almada to drop the Colombian from the team’s playoff roster. So the pouting Moreno watched from home as Pachuca marched through the Liguilla before coming up short against Atlas in the Liga MX Final. Thus far in the León training camp, however, Moreno has impressed Paiva, earning a roster spot.

Adios Liga MX, hello MLS

Guadalajara goalie Raúl Gudiño has departed Chivas Nation. The 26-year-old netminder had several chances to claim the No. 1 jersey with “El Rebaño Sagrado” but faltered. The former Porto keeper was not out of contract for long as MLS club Atlanta United swept in to claim him.

Liga MX grapevine

One interesting tidbit that crossed our radar this past week was a proposed “Cata”-for-“Chofis” swap. There were reports that Cruz Azul was dangling veteran defender Julio César Domínguez in hopes of acquiring the pudgy former-Chivas starlet, Javier López, but “Chofis” is content on loan to San Jose Earthquakes in MLS. The oft-underachieving López then publicly declared he had absolute no interest in playing for Cruz Azul, effectively killing off that rumor.

In case you missed it

Another former Chivas shining star, Marco Fabían re-signed with Mazatlán FC. The creaky 32-year-old playmaker helped the Cañoneros qualify for the Liga MX playoffs last season, a first in franchise history.

Next. Ousmane Dembele short on options. dark

Of greater significance, Argentine striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno signed a two-year contract extension with the Pumas. The 27-year-old led UNAM to the Concacaf Champions League Final, scoring 9 goals in eight CCL games. Dinenno has scored 40 goals across all competitions for the Pumas since migrating to Liga MX in 2019.