Manuel Veth –
Atlético Madrid’s Fernando Torres could be heading to the Liga MX side Querétaro FC. Those were the big news on Tuesday and a major topic in the inaugural Liga MX Futbolgrad Network Golazo Podcast. Several sources including the highly reputable Tom Marshall reported from the Liga MX draft that a deal could be imminent.
The Liga MX draft in particular is the place where the big clubs in Mexican football conclude their biggest business deals. The draft, which has very little in common with the drafts that take place in North America, is a gathering of all Liga MX club owners in Cancun and on its final day is more similar to the deadline day in European football.
— Cesar Hernandez (@cesarhfutbol) June 8, 2017
The Apertura Liga MX draft took place on June 8, which was the last day that Liga MX clubs could move players already under contract from one Liga MX club to another. The draft is very controversial in Mexico because players are given very little say over their destinations. At the same time it is a media circus and Mexicans tune in en masse to follow the days proceedings.
Liga MX Clubs can Still Purchase Foreign Talent
Hence, while players under contract in Liga MX can no longer be moved until the winter clubs can still purchase players from abroad. Mexican national team player Carlos Vela, for example, has been linked with a move to Chivas and Tigres in the last couple days. The return of the former Arsenal and current Real Sociedad San Sebastian forward would under normal circumstances considered the deal of the summer in Mexico.
The Fernando Torres transfer would, however, dwarf any deal in Mexico this summer. In terms of media impact it would most certainly dwarf any deal in Mexican history including Tigres’ purchase of André-Pierre Gignac in 2015 and Querétaro’s spectacular Ronaldinho signing in 2014. While Gignac managed to make a major impact on the league, and even represented France at last summer’s European Championship, Ronaldinho stint was marked by controversies.
Like Gignac Fernando Torres can be expected to make a positive impact on the league. Prolific at Atlético Madrid and Liverpool FC the Spaniard struggled at Chelsea and Milan before returning to Atlético in January 2015. Even at Atlético Fernando Torres failed to reach the levels that made him a superstar early on in his career. At the same time he became an important member of Atlético’s squad and featured prominently in Altético’s head coach Diego Simeone’s plans.
Fernando Torres’ contract is going to expire in a year’s time and the 33-year-old forward would like experience one last new challenge. Liga MX has in the past featured prominently as a destination for European stars that want to experience football away from Europe. The likes of Maurizio Gaudino, Bernd Schuster Eusebio all have played in Mexico.
Most prominently has been the stint of Pep Guardiola, who spent the 2005-06 season with Sinaloa based Dorados. The current Manchester City head coach only managed ten games for Dorados, but as Rory Smith from the New York Times explained Guardiola’s experience in Mexico had a major impact on his coaching career.
Querétaro Could Easily Afford Fernando Torres
It would be no surprise if Fernando Torres will contact Pep Guardiola to enquire about the latters experience in Mexican football. Based on Guardiola’s statements alone Torres’ transfer to Liga MX would be a certainty.
Querétaro in the meantime would certainly have the assets to complete the deal. Liga MX has developed into one of the richest leagues outside the European game. Rich owners and low tax rates mean that Liga MX clubs have become a magnet for the most talented players in Latin America. Querétaro are owned by the wealthy Grupo Empresarial Ángeles conglomerate, which would have no problem financing Torres’ transfer.
At the same time there are some major obstacles to the deal. Atlético Madrid are currently under a transfer ban by FIFA for conducting transfers that involved under aged players. Hence, it would be no surprise if Atlético would veto any transfer this summer, as the club would not be able to bring in a replacement.
The obstacles aside Fernando Torres would be a huge asset for Querétaro. While his pace is not the same as it was in the early stages of his career. His goal instinct and technical abilities are still second to none. The open attacking style of Liga MX would also fit with the blond Spanish striker.
Torres joining Liga MX would therefore be a fascinating proposition that would add even more excitement to a league that is already filled with entertainment.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.