Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Liga MX club Cruz Azul is nearing a deal to acquire three young midfielders in Major League Soccer with ties to Mexico.
According to multiple reports on Friday, the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal, San Jose Earthquakes’ Rafael Baca, and Philadelphia Union’s Michael Farfan are close to completing moves to Cruz Azul for the 2014 Liga MX Clausura season. The reports state that Villarreal’s move would be a loan deal while Farfan’s would be a permanent transfer.
Cruz Azul listed the players on their website even though the deals reportedly haven’t been finalized. The Galaxy declined to comment on the reports, per LA Galaxy insider.
All three players hold Mexican citizenship and wouldn’t be counted as foreigners for Cruz Azul’s squad registration purposes. Unlike Villarreal and Farfan though, Baca doesn’t hold American citizenship and is the only one of the trio born in Mexico. A separate report in ESPN Deportes says that the players won’t be unveiled this weekend along with the signings of Marco Fabian, Xavier Baez, and Fausto Pinto, as manager Luis Fernando Tena has yet to decide who will play with the first team or the reserves, Cruz Azul Hidalgo.
La Maquina is undergoing a major rebuilding process this winter with the departures of head coach Guillermo Vázquez, veteran midfielder Israel Castro, and defender Jair Pereira. The additions of Villarreal (20), Farfan (25), and Baca (24) add a bit more youth to the club now coached by a former Mexico Under-23 coach who led the side to a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
What do you think of this report? Surprised that all three would leave MLS? Do you expect other Liga MX teams to come calling for MLS talent? How do you see the Union, Earthquakes, and Galaxy replacing Farfan, Baca, and Villarreal for next season?
Share your thoughts below.