Cruz Azul brings in playmaker; San Luis to add defender with Serie A experience

Cementeros add Andrés Montaño to their midfield, while Cristiano Piccini might come to Mexico
Andrés Montaño (left) will join the Cruz Azul midfield where he'll hope to help the Cementeros return to the Liga MX finals.
Andrés Montaño (left) will join the Cruz Azul midfield where he'll hope to help the Cementeros return to the Liga MX finals. / Sergio Mejia/GettyImages

With the Euros and the Copa América dominated headlines, it might have slipped your mind that the new Liga MX season kicks off next weekend.

Club América will be bidding for a three-peat, the Chivas are facing a fan revolt as they struggle to reload, Cruz Azul is building toward another run at a second straight Liga MX finals appearance, while the Northern Giants are still hunting for reinforcements.

So as the league's 18 teams continue to scramble to settled their rosters as soon as possible, it's worth remembering that the Liga MX transfer window closes on Sept. 13. But also keep in mind, that the league shuts down for a month after Matchday 4 (from July 21 through Aug. 23) for the Liga MX-MLS Leagues Cup tournament.

With all the above in mind, here's a quick look at some transactions and rumors that have trickled across the news wires the past few weeks.

Cruz Azul gets a playmaker

Last month, the Cementeros filled their need at striker and now Iván Alonso & Co. have brought in some promising talent in midfield – Andrés Montaño.

The 22-year-old burst onto the scene last season with Mazatlán FC, earning a call-up to the senior national team after making some waves on Mexico's U-23 squad. Montaño made his debut with El Tri against Bolivia in a June 1 friendly but he'll likely become a fixture in years to come.

Montaño first earned recognition in the Clausura 2023 season, making 16 appearances for the lowly Cañoneros. Last season, the Baja California Sur native played in all 17 matches, but his 4 goals and flashy passing was not enough to lift Mazatlán into the playoffs.

Cruz Azul coach Martín Anselmi will surely give Montaño time at wing and in midfield and the youngster should thrive in the Cementeros attack-first system.

San Luis says 'benvenuto' to Piccini

After finishing out of the Liga MX playoff picture last season, Atlético de San Luis went shopping for an experienced defender. Lo and behold, they seemd to have found one in Italy.

Reports this week indicate Cristiano Piccini, 32, is close to finalizing terms with San Luis, moving from Serie A to Liga MX.

Piccini brings with him plenty of experience, having plied his trade with Fiorentina, Betis, Valencia, Sporting Lisbon, Atalanta, Estrella Roja and, last season, with Sampdoria. The Florence native even saw action with "Los Azzurri," earning three caps with Italy in 2018.

From Dortmund to FC Juárez?

Speaking of players moving from Europe to Liga MX, ESPN published a report hinting that Sébastien Haller could be on his way from the Bundesliga to Mexico.

The Ivory Coast international is said to be disappointed with the prospects of reduced playing time yet again at Borussia Dortmund. The question is whether or not a move to Liga MX would satisfy his desire to see more time on the pitch.

Bravos management has reportedly offered the 30-year-old striker $10 million dollars to move to Cd. Juárez. That figure is close to what he is earning now, but accepting the deal hinges on whether the Bravos can meet his "sporting and financial conditions."

A return to Liga MX in the cards?

Earlier this week, Cruz Azul coach Martín Anselmi told reporters that the Mexico City club was closing a deal to repatriate El Tri fullback Jorge Sánchez who has fallen out of favor at FC Porto.

Sánchez, 26, left Club América for Ajax two years ago, but never convinced management so he was loaned out to FC Porto. The two-time Liga MX champ (Clausura 2018 with Santos Laguna and with Club América in the Apertura 2018) knows he'll need playing time if he hopes to be on Mexico's 2026 World Cup roster, so he is willing to return to Liga MX.


The Coahuila native turned down a return to Mexico earlier this year, but after seeing limited action with Porto, he realized getting on the pitch was a priority. The transaction is not official yet, but since Sánchez is with Team Mexico at the Copa América, he is staying fit for the coming season.