Transfer merry-go-round continues to spin freely

Santos Laguna star Brian Lozano appears headed back home to Uruguay after saying he is no longer motivated to play in Liga MX. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images)
Santos Laguna star Brian Lozano appears headed back home to Uruguay after saying he is no longer motivated to play in Liga MX. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /
Liga MX merry-go-round
Joao Rojas arrived to Liga MX just two weeks ago and the Monterrey winger is already out with a long-term injury. The Rayados might be in the market for a replacement. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Matchday 3 of the Apertura 2022 starts early and features a rematch of the preseason Liga MX Super Cup, but fans’ attention is focused squarely on transfer news.

Might América hosts surprise league leader Toluca on Wednesday in a game moved forward because the Aguilas have a July 16 friendly in Las Vegas against Chelsea and a July 20 match against Manchester City in Houston. “Los AzulCremas” desperately need a win to avoid repeating the slow start that nearly ruined their Clausura 2022 campaign before the midway point.

On Saturday, Cruz Azul visits Liga MX champs Atlas who are eager to kick-start their season by avenging the shootout loss to the Cementeros on June 26. The holders need to start piling up points as Diego Cocca & Co find themselves in 14th place with just 1 point.

Meanwhile, roster shuffling continues across Liga MX with a couple notable names switching jerseys.

One leaving, another returning

Last week, Santos Laguna winger Brian Lozano hinted that he was losing his passion for the game of fútbol.

The 28-year-old playmaker has struggled to return to the MVP form he displayed three years ago after a broken leg and other serious ailments. “Huevo” helped the Guerreros hoist the Liga MX trophy after the Clausura 2018 season and has recorded 23 goals and handed out 26 assists since joining “Los Laguneros” in summer 2017.

When Lozano made clear his troubled state of mind, the Santos front office moved quickly to accommodate him. The Uruguayan is set to return to his home country on loan to Peñarol for a year, but he’ll be sacrificing wages to do so (Lozano agreed to a 30-percent paycut).

Meanwhile, former national team defender Carlos Salcedo is on his way back to Liga MX after Toronto FC decided to release him. FC Juárez is reported to have a deal in place to repatriate the controversial defender.

Salcedo had three troubled seasons with Tigres – winning Liga MX honors in his first season at the club – before they parted ways in January when the team refused to offer an extension.

The defender – whose perplexing inconsistencies cost him a spot with El Tri – has earned a reputation of being a nuisance on and off the field amid reports that his prickly personality has infuriated management.

Still, at 28, Salcedo is more than capable of re-establishing the form that earned him a three-year sojourn in Europe (one year with Fiorentina and two more at Eintracht Frankfurt). The rugged defender should quickly stake claim to one of the central defender spots in front of Alfredo Talavera.

Other Liga MX news

Two teams that might start thinking trade are Monterrey and América.

Monterrey defeated América on the weekend but lost winger Joao Rojas during the 3-2 victory. The Ecuadorian winger tore up his left knee and is out for the season.

The Rayados released two forwards (Vincent Janssen and José Alfonso Alvarado) and brought in two others – Rodrigo Aguirre and Germán Berterame. “Los Norteños” have deep pockets so if Víctor Manuel Vucetich tells ownership he needs a replacement for Rojas, he’ll get one.

As for América, forward Roger Martínez has been sidelined for three months with a knee injury, further weakening their underperforming front line. After last season’s disastrous start – the Aguilas were in last place after Matchday 8 – the front office knows it can’t afford to sit still and hope the offense suddenly starts clicking.

Defending Liga MX champs Atlas thought it had addressed its bench issues before the season, but forward Mauro Manotas injured a knee on Matchday 1, leaving coach Cocca with limited attacking options behind Julián Quiñones and Julio Furch.

The Zorros wasted no time in acquiring young Santos forward Jesús Ocejo, 24, and he started and scored for “Los Rojinegros” on Sunday at Toluca.

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The Chivas are also scrambling to replace injured striker JJ Macías (knee) but a deal for Santiago Ormeño has been held up by Eduardo “Chofis” López who refuses to accept a trade to Pachuca. Ormeño has already passed his physical in Guadalajara and agreed to terms but the transaction has yet to be finalized.