Three transactions to take note of ahead of Clausura 2024

Lichnovsky remains in Eagle's Nest; Cavallini returns to Puebla; Murillo loaned to Atlas
Igor Lichnovsky went from riding the bench with Tigres to back-stopping América's run to the Liga MX title.
Igor Lichnovsky went from riding the bench with Tigres to back-stopping América's run to the Liga MX title. / Sergio Mejia/GettyImages

Opening weekend is just days away, so it’s a perfect opportunity to catch up on a few under-the-radar transactions that could pay dividends during the Clausura 2024.

One of the most notable deals involves the defending champs. Early in the Clausura 2023, América’s back line looked more like a triage exercise than  that of a Liga MX title contender. Even so, when Tigres dangled defender Igor Lichnovsky in front of them, the Aguilas initially said no. 

After the Tigres front office sweetened the deal by offering to pick up some of Lichnovsky’s salary, América reluctantly agreed. The veteran defender did not just serve as a stop gap, however. Instead, Lichnovsky played so well he won the starting job and helped “los Azulcremas” win their 14th Liga MX championship.

The Aguilas brain trust figured that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so they negotiated a loan extension and Lichnovsky will be anchoring the América back line again this season.

Cavallini reunites with ‘La Franja’

Puebla was one the pleasant surprises during the Apertura 2023, making the playoffs for the sixth season in a row despite one of the league’s lowest payrolls.

Leading their charge down the stretch was burly forward Guillermo Martínez who finished second in Liga MX with 9 goals. 

Once again, Puebla management decided to cash in on a star player (just like they did with Maxi Araujo, Israel Reyes and Jordi Cortizo in previous years) and Martínez was sold to UNAM for $3.3 million dollars.

So “La Franja” turned to a familiar face to fill Martínez’s shoes – Lucas Cavallini.

The Canada international garnered attention when he tallied nine goals for the Camoteros during the Clausura 2018 season (third-best in Liga MX). The striker scored 28 goals while with Puebla from 2017-2020 before leaving for the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS.

The 31-year-old Cavallini joined Tijuana a year ago but his return to Liga MX has not gone well. Camoteros fans hope that the prodigal son can bring some joy to Estadio Cuauhtémoc this season.

Murillo moves from Tuneros to Zorros

Since winning back-to-back league titles, Atlas has missed the playoffs three straight seasons. 

The once-potent Zorros attack was stripped of its firepower (gone are Julio Furch, Julián Quiñones and Ozziel Herrera) and nobody scored fewer goals in Liga MX than “los Rojinegros” last season.

Last month, Atlas added young winger Raymundo Fulgencio who was sent packing by Tigres after getting ejected from the Liga MX final while the game was still in the balance. The enigmatic 23-year-old should add some flair to the Zorros attack.

Over the weekend, we learned that speedy winger Jhon Murillo is on his way to Guadalajara. The 28-year-old Venezuelan spent the past four season with Atlético de San Luis where he scored 8 goals and added 7 assists. 

dark. Next. Monterrey hoping to avoid another late-season fade. Monterrey hoping to avoid another late-season fade

Both Fulgencio and Murillo have joined the Zorros on one-year loan deals and they’ll team up with forward Jordy Caicedo to provide some pizazz up front. Atlas might not get back to the playoffs, but they’ll surely score more than 14 goals this season, right?