Transfer activity does little to inspire hope

Posted by Tom Marshall

Derek Leung/Getty ImagesJose Luis Real will have a tough task next year as he tries to prevent Chivas from being relegated.

After finishing 17th and 16th the last two seasons and the prospect of a relegation battle very real unless Chivas can amass a large amount of points in the upcoming Clausura 2014, Guadalajara’s transfer window was a disappointment.

In came veterans Omar Bravo and Israel Castro, youngsters Francisco Flores and Julio Gomez and defenders Jair Pereira and Gerardo Rodriguez and out went Miguel Sabah, Marco Fabian, Hector Reynoso, Giovani Casillas and Miguel Ponce.

The big, headline-grabbing transfer to make a statement that Chivas are willing to spend big to lift the team up the league didn’t happen. Carlos Salcido’s transfer from Tigres fell through due to problems between the clubs, despite the former Chivas player’s willingness to come home, and Jesus Corona stayed at Cruz Azul.

Instead, Chivas relied on mainly exchange deals, with Fabian heading to Cruz Azul and Flores, Pereira and Castro coming to Guadalajara and Ponce moving to Toluca, where Rodriguez came from.

It wasn’t what the fans -- who have campaigned for owners to spend using the #Chivaton hashtag on Twitter -- wanted.

Faced with an America side that has equaled them on 11 titles and came within a whisker of winning number 12 last weekend, Chivas needed a lift. But, at least in terms of raw talent, there is an argument that Guadalajara is actually weaker for the Clausura 2014 than it was during 2013.

Yet there were players out there and deals to be done.

Manuel Vineigra went from Tigres to Atlante, Atlas brought in Enrique Perez, Toluca signed Xavier Baez and Fausto Pinto, Monterrey got Candido Ramirez, former Chivas winger Luis Morales went to Morelia, midfielders Edgar Andrade and Diego de Buen ended up at Pachuca, as did center back Hugo Rodriguez and Ivan Estrada headed to Tigres.

All of the above are Mexican and would have strengthened the squad, if not necessarily the first XI, and increased competition for places.

Not that coach Jose Luis “Guero” Real seems overly concerned.

“I managed a (Chivas) team without new signings and now that there are I suppose everything should go better,” he said on Tuesday in a press conference. “If things don’t go well, I’ll be off, that is very clear to me. All the fans have asked for the team to be strengthened and the owners have made a big effort."

To be fair to Chivas, Fabian and Ponce may be talented, but they have been inconsistent at best since the Olympics, while it appears Hector Reynoso’s best days are behind him. Castro, Rodriguez and Pereira have all been regulars for years in the Liga MX and bring stability.

The biggest problem for Chivas was in defense and that above trio should bring some solidity to the side, even if the goalkeeping situation in slightly disconcerting.

Hugo Hernandez remains the best bet and impressed on loan at Puebla, but there are suggestions coming out the club that Antonio Rodriguez, at just 21, could take the No. 1 shirt. For a club under a large amount of pressure, it would be a bold move from Real, who told this blog earlier this year that Rodriguez is the natural successor to Luis Michel.

As for the long-time Chivas No. 1, Michel wasn’t sold ahead of the transfer deadline and will be part of the squad if he isn’t sold abroad or to an Ascenso MX side.

Real asks fans for positive support

The coach was forthright on Tuesday in asking fans that have distanced themselves from the club to get behind Chivas next season, demanding they support the side and not just criticize.

“The fans are always important for us. First of all, we recognize we have failed, that the team is in a difficult situation and of the responsibility we have for getting Chivas where they should be . . . but the fans too play a very important role . . . we should all improve and the fans can get better in not just criticizing us but also supporting. They have a right to criticize, but they can support more.”

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