After a disappointing season it might have been easy for Club América to lay the blame at the feet of manager, Antonio Mohamed, start from scratch and seek a replacement. However, it would appear, having already confirmed the signing of Mexican international striker, Oribe Peralta, that El Turco still has the full support and is now being backed financially to make wholesale changes in the Estadio Azteca.
The loss to Santos Laguna in the Quarter Finals of the Clausura liguilla was a poor return from a campaign which started so promisingly but Mohamed obviously has some clear plans as to how Las Águilas can make a more serious challenge in the 2014 Apertura.
This rebuilding process began last week with the capture of Santos Laguna and México striker, Oribe Peralta from under the noses of arch rivals, Chivas. It is understood that América will shell out in excess of $5 million for the 30-year old international striker in what is a real signal of intent so early in the window. While Peralta’s pedigree is not in doubt, after all this is the player that will most likely lead México’s line at the World Cup, and he undoubtedly knows how to find the back of the net, some have questioned whether he is the right striker for América.
At present, it would be assumed that Peralta would be partnered by México teammate, Raúl Jiménez. There is no doubt that this would be a fearsome strike force in Liga MX but it doesn’t address the issue that has existed since the sale of Cristian Benitez, which was the lack of pace to get behind defences.
However, with Jiménez’s future the subject of speculation and rumours of European interest for the 23-year old, number 9 he may well need to replaced also. Here is where the rumour mill throws up a name of real intrigue and a name that would certainly address the issue of pace. Clausura top scorer, Enner Valencia of Pachuca and Ecuador is reportedly top of the list to replace Jiménez.
While this move would be a contingency in the event of Jiménez leaving, Mohamed is actively looking to replace some of América’s established first team players. Francisco ‘Maza’ Rodríguez looks set to be one of those shown the exit door after some high profile errors and the name that interests El Turco is fellow Argentine, Paolo Goltz of Lanús.
Lanús would be loathed to lose their captain and have reportedly already rejected a bid but there is plenty of time for América to flex their financial muscle if Goltz is the man identified by Mohamed as central to his plans. In Goltz, Las Águilas would certainly be getting a top centre-half who is comfortable on the ball and a pretty regular goal scorer to boot.
The other casualty from a clear-0ut could be Juan Carlos Medina, who despite being in México’s World Cup Squad could be seen as surplus to requirements for América. And once again, the player ear-marked to replace him would be another Argentine who is very familiar to Antonio Mohamed. Tijuana’s, Cristian Pellerano has been reported already as being a done deal and he would certainly take one of the central midfield slots, where he played under Mohamed for San Lorenzo before following El Turco to Tijuana to claim the title in 2012.
Additionally in midfield, Andrés Andrade and Osvaldo Martinez may leave, and Mohamed has eyes on further Argentine reinforcements. Lanus midfielder, Diego González and Boca Juniors youngster, Luciano Acosta have both been linked.
While another first team player whose contract is expiring and could be keen to leave is centre-back, Aquivaldo Mosquera, who may prefer a return to Pachuca. In that case, and following a similar pattern Mohamed may turn to Javier Gandolfi of Tijuana.
It looks set to be a close season of much activity in the Estadio Azteca but while the free spending may bring some optimism back it will also raise expectation and pressure on Antonio Mohamed.