Liga MX Transfer News: Comings and goings ahead of AP24

América finds back-up goalie while Cruz Azul reloads on offense; Pumas have holes to fill
Two-time Liga MX champion Rodolfo Cota looks likely to become América's back-up goalie.
Two-time Liga MX champion Rodolfo Cota looks likely to become América's back-up goalie. / Manuel Guadarrama/GettyImages

We're three weeks out from the start of the Apertura 2024 and Liga MX clubs continue to ponder roster moves though few big deals were brokered in the past week. The three Mexico City teams have been shuffling pieces around, though Cruz Azul is the only team in the capital to have made a real splash.

Two-time defending champions América don't have a need to reload but that might change if they sell some of their surplus talent. The one move the Aguilas are making is finding an experienced back-up for All-Liga MX goalie Luis Malagón.

América is finalizing a deal to bring two-time Liga MX champion netminder Rodolfo Cota aboard. Cota, 36, would be a reliable back-stop especially as Malagón picked up an injury as the season wound down (Malagón was sent back home from El Tri training camp and will miss out on the Copa América where he was expected to be Mexico's starting goalie).

Cota starred for Guadalajara for three years, leading the Chivas to Liga MX glory in 2017 and, a year later, the Concacaf Champions League. He then moved to León where he's stood tall between the pipes for six years, helping the Esmeraldas win one Liga MX title (2020) as well as a Concacaf Champions League title (2023).

Other Liga MX transactions

Across town at Cruz Azul's La Noria headquarters, reporters recorded the arrival of Giorgios Giakoumakis and Andrés Montaño. The pair were in Mexico City to undergo physicals while the front office dotted the i's and crossed the t's on their contracts.

We mentioned the Giakoumakis signing earlier this week, but the Montaño acquisition was still up in the air. Now it looks like Cementeros coach Martín Anselmi has two big questions answered: a target man at the point of attack and a young playmaker who could soon become the focal point of the Cruz Azul engine room.

Montaño just returned to Mexico after being among the final cuts from El Tri's Copa América roster and Cruz Azul quickly closed the deal to bring the 22-year-old midfielder into camp.

Going out the door (again) is winger Christian Tabó. Cruz Azul sent the Uruguayan veteran out on loan to UNAM this past season and coach Anselmi does not have plans to include him on the roster.

Puebla seems to be the likely destination for the unwanted Tabó and Puebla is desperate for some playmakers after finishing last a season ago. Tabó would be returning to the scene of his best years in Liga MX as he spent five years with the Camoteros (2017-2022), scoring 20 times in 111 matches.

As for the third Mexico City franchise, the Pumas have done little thus far even as coach Gustavo Lema has a lengthy wish list after "los felinos" tumbled into an 8th-place finish this past season.

To date, the only actions UNAM has taken is to release four players. Leaving the CU are veteran playmaker Eduardo Salvio, midfielder Jesús Molina and left back Adrián Aldrete. All three of these players are on the back end of their respective careers, with Salvio being the youngest of the trio at 33.

The Pumas could have a big hole to fill as they toy with the idea of selling their most valuable player – winger César Huerta. Currently with El Tri preparing for the Copa América, the 23-year-old Huerta has gotten interest from several European clubs including Lazio, Girona and Aston Villa.

Huerta joined UNAM from the Chivas in July 2022 and has blossomed into one of the best playmaking wings in Liga MX. The Guadalajara native had 7 assists last season (second-most in Liga MX) and led the Pumas with 8 goals the season before that.

There had been whispers that the Pumas are trying to entice forward Marquinhos to leave Ferencvaros to join Liga MX but there hasn't been much movement on that front lately.


Other targets to fill positions of need are Maxi Meza (winger with Monterrey) and 23-year-old fullback Mauricio Isaias (Toluca). Meza could fill the spot vacated by Salvio while Isaias – a Liga MX champions while with Pachuca – would be a nice replacement for Aldrete.