Wheeling and dealing continues as Liga MX prepares to resume play

J.J. Esquivel will be playing for his fourth Liga MX franchise after being sent from Necaxa to Mazatlán FC. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
J.J. Esquivel will be playing for his fourth Liga MX franchise after being sent from Necaxa to Mazatlán FC. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX M4
Puebla fans will hope to see less of this gesture from Miguel Sansores and instead see celebratory poses after the Camoteros acquired the striker from Mazatlán FC. The Liga MX season resumes tonight with four matches. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images) /

Liga MX returns with a bang tonight: a quadruple-header with all four games being played in Mexico! OK, best to put the Leagues Cup farce behind us and look ahead to the 14 match days remaining on the Apertura 2023 calendar.

León and Mazatlán kick things off followed by a trio of games played simultaneously (but only one of the three on public television … yes, we can stop cursing Apple TV+ and resume badmouthing premium cable and streaming services that have removed so many Liga MX games from easy viewing).

Instead of dwelling on the frustrating aspects of watching fútbol in México, let’s shift to the frustrating aspects of player movement and the oh-so-reliable social media sources breathlessly reporting on the big transaction about to happen. …. Still waiting …

Follow me down this here rabbit hole then …

New faces in new places

Although the transfer window doesn’t slam shut until the end of the month, there is a restriction for trading players within the league.

Liga MX clubs can swap players who have appeared in a league game up until Aug. 28. After that no dice. As for free agents or signed players who have not played in a Liga MX game this season, clubs can acquire and register them as late as Sept. 13.

This past week, we did witness some movement between Liga MX teams.

Mazatlán FC sent striker Miguel Sansores to Puebla a team badly in need of reinforcements up front even if the veteran forward has not found the net very frequently since his days with Morelia.

Over in Aguascalientes, Necaxa sent midfielder J.J. Esquivel to Mazatlán FC in a rather confounding move. Esquivel – an Olympic bronze-medal winner with El Tri in 2021 – had started and finished all three of the Rayos’ games this season, playing his typical all-around game.

Later on, Necaxa sent down to Paraguay for Braian Samudio who last played in Liga MX with Toluca two years ago.

The winger, 27, will take the roster spot vacated by Uruguayan Maxi Silvera who failed to impress since joining from FC Juárez. Silvera asked to be released since he was not getting playing time and Rayos management was only too happy to oblige.

Necaxa is in desperate need of scoring potential, but the dismissal of Esquivel is a head-scratcher unless coach Rafael Dudamel plans on promoting an academy player or two.

Elsewhere in Liga MX, the Cruz Azul drama continues …

Sitting alone in last place, it’s no surprise that Cruz Azul might be considering some personnel changes even if the front office track record is spotty.

A few days ago, whispers were heard that linked the Cementeros to Uruguayan starlet Franco González while other rumors suggested that veteran midfielder Marco Fabián was negotiating a return to La Noria.

On Friday, Cruz Azul general manager-without-portfolio Oscar Pérez denied that either player was being pursued. However, “El Conejo” did declare that midfielder Carlos Rodríguez was being shopped around, hinting that a few unidentified clubs (maybe even a European club or two) had made inquiries.

Then as the weekend arrived, stories emerged that Monterrey was coming for C-Rod, a new development that puzzled Liga MX pundits. Rodríguez is a Team Mexico regular (in fact, he missed all three of Cruz Azul’s league matches while with El Tri at the Gold Cup) who is key to the Cementeros’ prospects. Why would the team consider parting ways with him?

Cruz Azul acquired C-Rod from Monterrey only last year (paying a hefty price: Luis Romo and cash). Has he groused about the decision to fire “Tuca” Ferretti? What would the Cementeros get in return?

Rodríguez is under contract through December 2025, so it’s not as if “La Máquina” is in danger of him walking on a free (something Cruz Azul management has become expert at: See Orbelín Pineda, Yoshimar Yotún).

Next. Lozano preps for upcoming El Tri friendlies. dark

Frankly, it’s better not to examine Cruz Azul’s decision-making lest you end up with a headache. The Cementeros next take the field at home against Santos Laguna and it would be no surprise of the club’s fans come with a healthy supply of boos and jeers.