Matchday 3 kicks off this weekend as one Liga MX favorite is poised to steal the odds while another swears it is not looking for the panic button.
Last week, Tigres delivered a double blow to reigning Liga MX champion Pachuca, first handing over $11 million dollars to acquire striker Nicolás Ibáñez then spanking the visiting Tuzos 4-1 in their Matchday 2 contest.
Ibáñez won the Liga MX Apertura 2022 scoring title (11 goals) and helped Pachuca reach the Final each of the past two seasons.
The 28-year-old Argentine is expected to team up with André-Pierre Gignac (a four-time Liga MX scoring champ), eventually succeeding the 37-year-old Frenchman as the focal point of the Tigres attack.
Tigres sit atop the Liga MX table with 6 points from two matches and boast a 7-1 goal differential. With the addition of Ibáñez, the northern powerhouse have displaced América as the club with the biggest payroll in the league.
Speaking of América, the Mexico City giants have been scrambling to fill holes in their roster after opening the Clausura 2023 with two uninspired ties, including a scoreless draw against the worst team in the league – Querétaro – in the season opener.
The Aguilas have been looking for a right back since selling Jorge Sánchez to Ajax last year. At the same time, the front office is trying to sell off some of the surplus forwards (the team typically plays a 4-2-3-1).
Roger Martínez has attracted some interest from European clubs but the Colombian’s wage demands have scared off some buyers while few clubs have shown serious interest in Federico Viñas.
One team that has asked about Viñas is Pachuca.
After selling off Ibáñez, the Tuzos put in a bid for the 24-year-old Uruguayan on loan but América is demanding a buy-out. The reigning Liga MX champs countered by saying they’d guarantee the little-used Viñas playing time and boost his value for a summer sale, but América declined the offer.
The Aguilas then asked if Pachuca would consider a swap to include right back Kevin Álvarez but the Tuzos held firm, insisting they were only interested in a loan deal for Viñas. The América brain trust held one final meeting to consider the move, but passed.
So the Liga MX champs will now look to South America for a new forward while the Aguilas are stuck with five forwards.
América hosts Puebla on Saturday while Pachuca welcomes FC Juárez to Estadio Hidalgo on Monday night.
As for the consensus Liga MX title favorites, Tigres visit Tijuana tonight and Ibáñez is expected to be suited up for the game.