Rumors swirl as Liga MX Hot Stove League gets off to early start

Santos Laguna dynamo Fernando Gorriarán (bottom) is evidently on América's wish list, while Roger Martínez (top) might be trade bait to clear payroll space. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)
Santos Laguna dynamo Fernando Gorriarán (bottom) is evidently on América's wish list, while Roger Martínez (top) might be trade bait to clear payroll space. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images) /
Liga MX rumors
Midfielder Álvaro Fidalgo (left) was one of the few América players to perform up to expectations in the Liga MX semifinals as the title favorites came up short against underdog Toluca. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

The Liga MX season ended less than a week ago, the new season is two months away and we’re already in the Silly Season. Wait … did I just write that?

What I meant to type is that transfer rumors are already swirling and fans are reacting with (take your pick) glee/dismay/shock.

The six teams that failed to qualify for the Liga MX playoffs are already in training camp (pre-preseason workouts) while across the league front offices and coaches are meeting to evaluate rosters, compose wish lists and hand out walking papers.

And reporters are lurking at every corner, ever eager to publish any bit of hearsay or gossip that any “source” is willing to share.

Kicking off Liga MX Hot Stove League

As is often the case, América is involved in the hottest rumors, and the subject of the popular Netflix documentary “América vs América” is already in the spotlight.

After finishing atop the Liga MX standings, the title favorites stumbled badly in the semifinals, disappointing fans preparing to celebrate the club’s 14th league championship.

So it’s no surprise, that the Liga MX giants would be looking to fix what went wrong. And with plenty of cash to splash and an owner whose only focus is to win trophies, there is always going to be scuttlebutt aplenty for writers and readers.

Of course, at this stage of the football calendar, actual transactions are few and far between (the official transfer window does not open until early January and extends to Feb. 1). But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate.

The first bit of noise featured Uruguay midfielder Fernando Gorriarán who stars for Santos Laguna. The peripatetic 27-year-old bossed the middle of the pitch for the Guerreros, helping the “Laguneros” to a No. 3 seed. “Gorri” had 3 goals and 5 assists for the most productive offense in Liga MX (their 38 goals equaled América for tops)

Immediately, Aguilas fans started to picture Gorriarán wreaking havoc in midfield alongside league MVP Álvaro Fidalgo and Richard Sánchez. But how would that happen.

One version has América allowing Santos to keep on-loan winger Leo Suárez for a cut-rate price, while another would have the Aguilas trading disgruntled midfielder Pedro Aquino who is upset with lack of playing time.

Then word filtered out that both deep-pocketed Monterrey clubs – Rayados and Tigres – were asking about the availability of Fidalgo. The Spaniard enjoyed his best season in Liga MX and his playmaking skills and importance to the “Azulcremas” are not reflected in his stats (2 goals, 4 assists). He was the pendulum that made the América offense tick.

GM Santiago Baños batted aside questions about the possible trade this week, proclaiming that the Real Madrid product was not for sale, though admitting that a stratospheric offer would get his attention.

Earlier in the week, the Aguilas had announced they were releasing veteran Miguel Layún and winger Jurgen Damm, but then revealed that they were negotiating to bring them back at a reduced rate.

Baños also admitted that enigmatic forward Roger Martínez and defender Bruno Valdez are on the trade block as their contracts expire at the end of next season and the club would be willing to get some return rather than allowing them to walk away in June.

Elsewhere around the league, new Pumas coach Rafa Puente is already ruffling feathers (wait … Pumas don’t have feathers).

On the first day of training camp, UNAM told five academy products that their services were no longer needed. “Record” did not identify the players but declared that there was anger in the locker room. Management did say the five “rejects” could continue training with the team until they found spots with other teams.

Earlier in the week the Pumas cut veteran defender Efraín Velarde and midfielder Leo López (the latter has already caught on with Tijuana) as they look to revamp their roster after a disappointing 16th-place finish.

Next. Pachuca romps to Liga MX title. dark

Also in Mexico City, Cruz Azul is closing in on Argentine winger Ramiro Carrera. The 29-year-old from Atlético Tucumán would take the roster spot for countryman Angel Romero who lost his spot in the starting line-up last season.