Cuahtemoc Blanco showed over a decade ago what kind of talent can be found in Liga MX, but only more recently have we seen a steady pipeline of top-end talent coming from Mexico.
With D.C. United reportedly agreeing in principle to acquire Peruvian winger Edison Flores from Monarcas Morelia for a reported $5 million-plus transfer fee on Sunday, here’s a look at some of the other recent moves of this caliber and — for those who have seen the field in MLS —how they have fared for their new teams
Lucas Zelarayan: Tigres UANL to Columbus Crew SC (2019)
Columbus Crew SC set a club record by reportedly spending north of $7 million on the transfer fee to obtain the Argentine attacking midfielder from Tigres on Dec. 20. The 27-year-old Designated Player scored 23 goals and added 14 assists across all competitions in four years with Tigres after coming up through the Belgrano system in his native Argentina and tallying 10 goals and dishing out six assists in 77 appearances.
Lucas Cavallini: Puebla to Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2019)
The Canadian international forward made the move to the Vancouver Whitecaps Dec. 16 from Puebla for a club-record transfer fee of reportedly $6 million in a three-year deal. The 27-year-old well-rounded forward has scored 11 goals in 17 appearances for the Canadian national team and registered 29 goals and eight assists in 81 appearances across all competitions for Puebla.
Alan Pulido: Chivas Guadalajara to Sporting Kansas City (2019)
Sporting Kansas City set a club record by landing Alan Pulido from Chivas Guadalajara for a reported $9.5 million in a four-year deal announced Dec. 10. The 28-year-old Mexican international has scored over 100 combined goals for club and country during a decorated career highlighted by five domestic championships and the 2018 Concacaf Champions League title. He arrives at SKC after claiming the Liga MX Apertura Golden Boot.
Gustavo Bou: Club Tijuana to New England Revolution (2019)
The 29-year-old Argentine forward signed a Designated Player contract with the New England Revolution on July 10. Gustavo Bou, who arrived from Xolos for a transfer record transfer fee of $7 million, made an immediate impact with nine goals in 14 regular season appearances, helping the Revs reach the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Brian Fernandez: Necaxa to Portland Timbers (2019)
The Portland Timbers reportedly plunked down between $10 million and $12 million for a club-record transfer fee to obtain the Argentine forward from Club Necaxa on May 6. Fernandez, who struck for a brace in his debut against the Houston Dynamo, struck for 11 goals in 19 regular season appearances before his contract was terminated in November.
Raul Ruidiaz: Morelia to Seattle Sounders FC (2018)
Raul Ruidiaz celebrates one of his many goals for the Sounders | USA Today Sports Images
The Peruvian international won two straight Liga MX scoring titles before making the move to the Seattle Sounders in a deal announced June 29, 2018. The $7 million transfer fee was the largest in club history, reportedly $1 million more paid to Boca Juniors for Nico Lodeiro two years earlier. The 29-year-old Designated Player has scored 21 goals in 36 regular season appearances over the course of two years and helped the Sounders to the an MLS Cup 2019 title.
Darwin Quintero: Club America to Minnesota United FC (2018)
The 32-year-old Colombian attacking player became Minnesota United’s first Designated Player when the club signed him from Club Améerica for a transfer fee reported to be $200,000 on March 31, 2018. After nearly a decade in Liga MX, "The Scientist" scored on his home debut and struck for 21 goals and added 20 assists across two seasons with the Loons before his trade to the Houston Dynamo on Nov. 13.
Victor Vazquez: Cruz Azul to Toronto FC (2017)
The Spanish attacking midfielder arrived in Toronto on Feb. 20, 2017 after one season with Cruz Azul and was at the heart of the club’s historic treble campaign that year. Vazquez, a product of the famed Barcelona youth system, had 16 goals and 25 assists in 52 regular season appearances across two seasons before transferring to Al-Arabi SC last January.
Maxi Moralez: Club Leon to New York City FC (2017)
Maxi Moralez led MLS with 20 assists in 2019 | USA Today Sports Images
While it didn’t register on the Richter scale like the signings of fellow Designated Players David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, acquiring Moralez from Club Leon on Feb. 15, 2017 proved to be one of the most important signings in New York City FC’s brief history. The 32-year-old Argentine playmaker has 20 goals and 45 assists in three seasons and signed a two-year contract extension in October after a league-best 20 assists in 2019.