Eighteen teams will start their quest for 2016 Clausura glory this weekend, with four teams kicking off Friday night: Atlas vs. Queretaro and Tijuana vs. Pachuca. The short offseason has been crazy, and we really couldn’t be more psyched to get things back underway. Here’s our list of five transfers to know ahead of this weekend’s action:
Joffre Guerrón, Cruz Azul
Ecuadorian attacker Joffre Guerrón’s arrival at Cruz Azul marks a concerted effort to ramp up the club’s offensive output. With only 49 goals in 51 games over the past three competitions (16 in 2014 Apertura, 14 in 2015 Clausura, and 19 in 2015 Apertura), lord knows they need it.
Guerrón was named 2015 Copa Libertadores MVP, despite increasing bench time. More opportunities with La Maquina could lead to a more forceful display of Guerrón’s versatility and potent and explosive finishing flair, since he can play pretty much anywhere across the front line, preferably down the right side. Cruz Azul manager Tomás Boy has already made it very clear that he plans to start his team’s newest reinforcement in the first jornada against Monarcas.
Rafael Márquez, Atlas
The Kaiser de Zamora is back where his career began, and although it may seem out of reach (Atlas finished 16th above only Club Tijuana and Dorados last season), he’s looking to end his storybook career with a title. “It would be the cherry on the cake to finish with a title with Atlas,” Rafa said around the time of his signing about a month ago. “This would be the most important [title] of my career.”
Márquez may not be in his prime, but his leadership, experience, and legend status – accompanied by a slew of Atlas offseason additions – will be important in the club’s attempt to return to its winning ways.
Gullit Peña, Chivas
For many, Carlos “Gullit” Peña is the signing of the offseason. The 25-year-old Mexican international midfielder – along with fellow new boy Orbelin Pineda – serves as proof that Chivas wants to rid itself of descenso problems for good, instead turning its focus on fighting for titles.
Gullit is a star player with the potential to weave together offenses and destroy defenses with his creativity and technical prowess. More importantly, he’s also used to winning; the guy is simply a champion by nature. The pressure is on, but he probably won’t crack.
Carlos Sánchez, Monterrey
One of a handful of Monterrey refuerzos for the 2016 Clausura, Uruguayan midfielder Carlos Sánchez arrives to the team fresh from being voted South American Footballer of the Year by journalists across the continent. He netted 10 goals from his position down the right side for River Plate last season, including strikes in four of his team’s seven finals, and proved to be crucial in Copa Libertadores, Recopa Sudamericana, and Suruga Bank Championship victories.
This will be Sánchez’s second stint in Mexico, following a brief loan spell with Puebla. Most recently, the star accumulated 42 goals and 29 assists over the 2014 and 2015 seasons for River Plate. That’s right, he’s lethal charging forward. Watch out for those dangerous crosses too.
Ulises Dávila, Santos Laguna
Stability and first-team fútbol will be the name of the game for Mexican youth international Ulises Dávila, because that’s simply too much talent to be riding the bench. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder failed to make a single first-team appearance since signing with Chelsea back in 2011 – going on loan on five separate occasions during his time at Stamford Bridge – but more consistent minutes will put his stellar dribbling skills, vision, and versatility in the spotlight.