Transfer Talk: Chivas on the defensive as front office scrambles to reload

Early moves fail to impress while former coach wants to raid Guadalajara locker room
Yael Padilla became the darling of Chivas fans a couple seasons ago, scoring on his Liga MX debut and notching a game-winner in his third appearance.
Yael Padilla became the darling of Chivas fans a couple seasons ago, scoring on his Liga MX debut and notching a game-winner in his third appearance. / Jam Media/GettyImages

Guadalajara's recent front office shuffle might have thrown a wrench into the club's best-laid transfer plans. Now they also have to worry about a former insider poaching their best players.

The Chivas kicked off preseason camp this week in Cancún while the club's three-headed general manager finalized the first four acquisitions ahead of the Apertura 2024. However, there is not a bombshell among them. In fact, one of the new faces actually caused internal fireworks.

Guadalajara first added two bench-warmers from América, both on free transfers. Wingers Bruce El-Mesmari and Mauricio Reyes did not cost the club any extra fees, but neither is expected to contribute much this season as both should be seen as projects.

Next, the Chivas acquired midfielder Daniel Aguirre from the LA Galaxy, also on a free transfer. The 24-year-old should be able to compete for playing time, but if the team does not move some midfielders before the season starts, Aguirre might be little more than roster depth.

Chivas sign Govea from Rayados

Over the weekend, Guadalajara finalized a deal with Monterrey to bring in Omar Govea, an accomplished midfielder with experience in Europe. Govea, 28 is likely to get a good look from coach Fernando Gago.

Govea's arrival ruffled some feathers in the locker room, however, particularly among the home-grown players who saw their opportunities shrink under Gago last season.

The two seasons prior to Gago's arrival, Velijko Paunovic handed out several debuts and it seemed that he had uncovered a few gems (Yael Padilla comes to mind).

But Gago preferred veterans, rarely giving the academy kids any minutes. For instance, Padilla, now 18, didn’t see the field once during the Clausura 2024 despite scoring 3 goals in 16 games in the Apertura 2023 during Paunovic’s final season.

And now, there are growing whispers that Padilla will be shipped out on loan, while social media is abuzz with support for the young winger. At the same time, leaks from within the organization allege that Padilla had fought with veteran Fernando Beltrán and that he had gotten a big head after getting so much attention. It almost seems like an attempt at damage control.

As if to address the concern among the youngsters in the locker room, team sources let it be known that Padilla's roster spot could be taken by 20-year-old Sebastián Pérez Bouquet who Guadalajara loaned to FC Juárez last season. Pérez played in eight games for the Bravos, contributing 2 assists in 408 minutes of playing time.

Also, there is talk that midfielder Ariel Castro, 19, could be invited to the senior team.  If so, he'd join fellow academy product Armando González, a striker who was promoted to the senior team last season. González, 20, scored 13 goals with Guadalajara's Under-23 team a year ago but not not see any action during the Clausura 2024.

It's also worth noting that the front office situation might have cost the Chivas a shot at long-time El Tri left back Jesús Gallardo. The 29-year-old UNAM academy product has been linked to a move to Guadalajara for several seasons and this summer seemed like "El Rebaño Sagrado" had a real shot at him as he lost his starting left fullback position at Monterrey and was being used more as a wide midfielder, the postion he started at with the Pumas.

This week, we learned that Gallardo was indeed made available by the Rayados, but he will now call Toluca home. The details of the transaction were not immediately confirmed.

Paunovic comes poking around

As if all the above were not enough to cause concern for Chivas Nation, the club's former coach Velijko Paunovic was just hired by Tigres. Shortly after his arrival, Paunovic made clear he would love to have a few of his former pupils on his new squad.

Paunovic's top target is winger Roberto Alvarado, Guadalajara's best player last season, but he also identified midfielder Fernando Beltrán and right back Alan Mozo as targets. Tigres also have expressed interest in defenders Jesús Chiquete Orozco and Gilberto Sepúlveda.

Chivas management quickly announced Alvarado was not available, while also dismissing the possibility of a trade. This latter comment is relevant because Guadalajara had inquired about Tigres midfielder Sebastián Córdova.


Tigres responded by saying they were willing to buy out Alvarado's contract, a move that could be hard for Guadalajara to block, and a transaction that could scuttle the club's plans to contend for a Liga Mx title this season.