Guadalajara’s makeover ahead of the Apertura 2024 looked to have veered off path after the club misfired early on during the transfer window.
New Chivas manager Fernando Gago was looking to revamp the attack, and the return of loaned-out Santiago Ormeño and Ángel Saldívar was not deemed sufficient. In fact, it appears that Ormeño will be loaned out again.
But the cash-strapped franchise was outbid by UNAM for Puebla striker Guillermo Martínez, the second-leading scorer in Liga MX last season with 10 goals. Then rising MLS star Brandon Vázquez followed the money to Monterrey.
With mercurial winger Alexis Vega proving to be a disciplinary problem and likely to be shown the door one way or another, Chivas fans had to be wondering where the goals might come from in the Clausura 2024.
A Chivas return for 'Chicharito'?
Ten days before Guadalajara’s Jan. 13 season opener, the skies brightened for “El Rebaño Sagrado” thanks to a blockbuster interview with Javier Hernández. But would the former Chivas star actually return to Verde Valle?
“Chicharito” revealed his willingness to return to Liga MX, saying he had confirmed his interest to Guadalajara owner Amaury Vergara.
But is Chivas management willing to take the risk on a 35-year-old striker coming off knee surgery?
Chivas Nation immediately perked up with this news and breathless commentators took turns promoting the transaction.
GM Fernando Hierro and coach Gago are hoping for the return to health of former phenom J.J. Macías who continues to stir up controversy with his comments to reporters, and the rumor that Team USA starlet Cade Cowell could be on his way from the San Jose Earthquakes is gaining traction.
The Chivas braintrust might be reluctant to bring in another potential locker-room distraction after a season of turmoil that saw then-coach Veljko Paunovic threaten to resign in the middle of the Apertura 2023.
Guadalajara is in desperate need of a veteran presence who can serve as a mentor to the youngsters on the roster, but “Chicharito” has the reputation of a diva and a me-first guy.
Despite being the top scorer in El Tri history, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star was blacklisted from the national team after violating team rules and getting a staff person fired by denying his responsibility.
In addition, his wage demands might be impossible to meet even though pundits proclaimed that the addition of “Chicharito” would be a windfall.
The situation became muddier on Saturday after the would-be prodigal son posted – and then deleted – a cryptic message on social media. The “tweet” suggested that talks had hit a snag but some wags interpreted it to be an effort to put pressure on Vergara to make a deal by riling up the fan base.
Meanwhile … negotiations are ongoing …
On Friday, published reports insisted that the aforementioned Cowell had agreed to terms with the Chivas and would be on his way to Guadalajara next week. The California-born Cowell is “eligible” to play for “los rojiblancos” because is mother is Mexican.
Discussions to bring midfielder Fidel Ambriz over from León are also advancing. Ambriz – the captain of Mexico’s gold medal-winning U-23 side at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games – would be a solid addition.
Guadalajara is also waiting to see if Jesús Gallardo becomes available. Monterrey is trying to acquire Gerardo Arteaga from Genk and if the Team Mexico youngster comes back to Liga MX, Gallardo – an El Tri veteran – would be a strong candidate to fill the spot vacated by Cristian Calderón.
Speaking of Calderón, the enigmatic “Chicote” angered his former fans over the weekend by exclaiming that América is far and away a better franchise than Guadalajara. Ouch.