Locker room merry-go-round continues ahead of Apertura 2023

Would it be a surprise if we see Raúl Jiménez back in Liga MX sporting an América jersey? The Aguilas are kicking his tires. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images)
Would it be a surprise if we see Raúl Jiménez back in Liga MX sporting an América jersey? The Aguilas are kicking his tires. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images) /
Liga MX wheeling dealing
Chivas defender Jesús Orozco is a Monterrey target this offseason as the Liga MX Hot Stove League continues to simmer. (Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images) /

The new Liga MX season is only three weeks away and most general managers are busy shuffling and re-shuffling their rosters. At the same time, pundits and fans are soaking in the whispers and rumors about who may or may not be coming to Mexico.

For instance, the Lucas Moura-to-Monterrey story had some legs (briefly) while the gossip about a Raúl Jiménez return to América  continues to surge (even as Jiménez left the El Tri training camp for surgery on Friday).

So while the skilled Moura is out of contract at Tottenham on June 30, it seems unlikely that the 30-year-old Brazilian playmaker will agree to move to Liga MX. But if Moura doesn’t listen to offers from Monterrey, it won’t be due to lack of cash. The Rayados have plunked down $12 million dollars in an effort to acquire Guadalajara’s young defender Luis Orozco.

Chivas coach Veljko Paunovic opposes the move as, at 21, “Chiquete” is already making a name for himself as one of the best young defenders in Liga MX.  But Guadalajara has been cash-strapped since the pandemic and the big bucks being offered could provide much-needed depth as well as offensive reinforcements.

A return to Liga MX for Pulido?

Among the moves being contemplated by “El Rebaño Sagrado” is a reunion with Alan Pulido, the striker who helped Guadalajara win the league title in 2017, their most recent Liga MX trophy.

Pulido won the Golden Boot in his final season with the Chivas (the Apertura 2019) before taking his talents to MLS. The 32-year-old striker missed all of last season with a knee injury but he is back in the Sporting KC line-up this season and appears willing to don the red-and-white-striped jersey again.

As for Guadalajara’s bitter rivals, América continues to rearrange name plates in the locker room.

The Aguilas’ latest move was shipping Pedro Aquino to Santos Laguna who won a bidding war with Toluca to gain the services of the midfield rottweiler.

Meanwhile, América will welcome right back Kevin Álvarez to La Coapa next week. The  24-year-old international will report to the Aguilas after returning from San Diego where he is training with El Tri as they prepare for the Nations League and the Gold Cup.

Another offensive-minded fullback has changed Liga MX addresses this week as well. Diego Barbosa, 26, has left Atlas where he helped the Zorros win back-to-back Liga MX crowns in 2021 and 2022. Barbosa will play next season for the Xolos of Tijuana.

Just one year after winning the Clausura 2022 title, Atlas appears to be going for a rebuild. In addition to Barbosa, midfielder Edgar Zaldívar is on the verge of joining UNAM, Edison Flores and Aníbal Chalá have returned to South America, while 21-year-old defender Alejandro Gómez has been loaned to Santos Laguna.

It is possible Gómez will be joined in Coahuila by central defender Anderson Santamaría as the Guerreros are in talks to bring the Peru international to Estadio Corona, but Atlas coach Benjamín Mora insists he would prefer to hold onto the 31-year-old.

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One final move to report is the arrival of Nathan Silva from Atlético Mineiro. The 26-year-old central defender has agreed to a move to UNAM where the Brazilan will help shore up a shaky Pumas back line.