GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Jose Torres to Tigres UANL? Herculez Gomez to Chivas?
The final whistle in the Liga MX regular season hadn’t even sounded before rumors started to fly south of the border.
While Torres’ move to Tigres did go through, Chivas firmly shut the door to having an American international in the side.
But will Gomez be the next in a series of changes at Santos Laguna brought about by newly hired Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha? Two players have already left the club, and the possibility of others, including Gomez, following them out the door of Estadio Corona is very real.
If Herc does pressure for a move, there would be no shortage of suitors within the Liga MX and, potentially, in Europe. This time last year, some of Mexico’s big fish were sniffing around and his stock is even higher 12 months on after the Guerreros won the Clausura championship.
But Torres and Gomez aren’t the only two Americans down here that could move this winter, with the transfer silly season now in full flow.
Greg Garza will likely be involved for Tijuana in the Liga MX final, but, after that, a decision will have to be made, with at least three other first-division Mexican teams swarming.
Garza is currently backup to Edgar Castillo at left back for the Xolos, but he has impressed when given minutes. While Garza is settled at the club, the promise of first team football may turn his head. Then again, Tijuana’s involvement in the Copa Libertadores and the CONCACAF Champions League in 2013 could work the other way.
Jonathan Bornstein has been on Tigres’ transfer list before, and after the loan deal to Atlante fell through last summer, common sense would suggest he will move on this offseason.
The Bornstein camp is keeping tight-lipped on possible destinations, although it is known that a range of options are being explored and nothing is being ruled out. Online rumors suggest that León and Atlas are potential destinations for the former Chivas USA captain, although that hasn’t been confirmed by any reputable source.
The transfer merry-go-round at Puebla has seen a few Americans pass through over recent years. (Remember Eddie Johnson’s brief stint of three days last winter?) A regular offseason flurry of foreigner players coming and going is part and parcel of the club.
DaMarcus Beasley has so far remained loyal to the Poblanos, but with that 2014 World Cup creeping up, the temptation must be for the 30-year-old to find a higher-profile club. He does have a contract with Puebla, so they would have to decide to sell one of their prize assets if Beasley was to move.
Another player hoping to make Brazil 2014 with the US national team, Michael Orozco Fiscal also faces an uncertain offseason. The center back has been put on the San Luis transfer list amidst a change of ownership at the club, a new sporting director and a new coach.
Orozco Fiscal impressed in MLS in 2010 with the Philadelphia Union and has previously stated he wouldn’t be opposed to moving back north under the right circumstances, although there will likely also be interest within Mexico. There’s also the outside chance of him being taken off the transfer list with the speed things have changed at San Luis in recent weeks.
Another American on the move is América’s Isaac Acuña. He doesn’t feature in coach Miguel Herrera’s plans for next season after his loan stint in Merida in the Asceso MX and has also been put on the transfer list. A move to MLS is not out of the reckoning for the forward, with his agent exploring possibilities both sides of the border.
Then there is the case of Jesus Padilla at Chivas. “El Gringo” did not see the minutes he wanted this season and, while Chivas have not released their transfer list, it would be no surprise if he was on it.
Could a return to Chivas USA be in the offing? Perhaps, given the recent changes in LA, but the move has been mooted by certain sections of the Mexican media.
Further south, Diego Restrepo’s recent fine performances in goal for Deportivo Táchira are forcing the club’s hand over a new contract, but an agreement to extend his stay in Venezuela has yet to be struck between the two parties.
In Chile, Jimmy Maurer’s situation is up in the air after Universidad de Concepción was relegated from the Chilean first division. The former Atlanta Silverbacks ‘keeper was out after shoulder surgery for part of the year, but has adapted well to life in the South American country and would like to stay in Chile if the opportunity comes up.
In short, it all shapes up to be a busy offseason for American players (and writers) down south.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.