The big announcement of the new “Liga MX” brought collective confusion as to what exactly was "new" about the league at all.
The build-up made it seem like a true “Mexican Premier League” was in the pipeline, but then the details were leaked and people were left scratching their heads as to what the fuss had all been about. Not much seemed to have changed.
But despite the initial letdown, subsequent market activity this summer has breathed new life into the league and, with less than a month to go until the big kickoff, there are plenty of reasons to start getting excited.
The biggest mover and shaker has been Pachuca, who have brought in eight new signings in a bid to challenge the big three northern teams of Monterrey, Tigres and reigning champions Santos Laguna.
The Tuzos have signed striker Nery Castillo from Greek side Arias, Spanish veteran Raul Tamudo, Alberto Medina from Chivas and Nestor Calderon in the attacking third of the pitch, revitalizing a team that made it to the quarterfinals in last season´s Clausura 2012.
At the back, Paraguay international Paulo da Silva is a major coup for Pachuca, arriving from Zaragoza and declaring that one of the main reasons for coming back to Mexico was the fact legend Hugo Sanchez is the coach of the club.
Sanchez´s job is to organize the new signings as quickly as possible and blend them into a side capable of winning the championship. The quality is certainly there, but so is expectation.
A poor start would bring a wave of pressure early in the season for the expensively assembled team.
One man that would undoubtedly like to make sure Sanchez gets off to a poor start is new Atlante coach Ricardo La Volpe. The two managers have shared a fierce rivalry since their playing days and will meet in the first round of matches of the new season on July 22.
Mudslinging in the press between the two should be entertaining an expected.
But Pachuca isn´t the only side that has improved its playing personnel over the summer.
Anticipation is rife amongst Chivas fans, with Johan Cruyff´s revolution at the club taking hold and John Van´t Schip taking hold of the reigns to try to better last season´s dire performance in the league.
There have even been new signings, with striker Rafa Marquez Lugo in from Morelia and central midfielder Luis Perez snagged from Monterrey.
Both Cruyff and Van´t Schip have preached patience when talking to the press, but Chivas fans will be unforgiving if the team doesn’t at least perform better than last time round.
Pumas were in a similar position to Chivas last season, falling short of the playoffs playing with an inexperienced team. The university outfit has done everything possible to rectify that shortfall, with forward Emanuel Villa, Spaniard Luis Garcia and Martin Romagnoli adding both the experience and quality that should see Pumas back fighting around the top places next season.
Santos Laguna made shrewd moves in the transfer window, bringing in Gerardo Lugo from Morelia and picking up Oswaldo Alanis from relegated side Estudiantes Tecos. The transfers will further increase competition for places in an already deep squad.
Then there is last season´s semifinalist Club America, who have repatriated Mexican international Efrain Juarez after a miserable spell over the pond. To that add Adrian Aldrete and Rubens Sambueza and the Aguilas certainly have the tools to mount a serious challenge.
Cruz Azul did virtually nothing in the domestic draft, but its directors have been busy bringing in new faces from abroad, with Pablo Barrera likely to sign in the coming days to join Colombian center back Luis Perea and Argentine striker Mariano Pavone.
Even Atlas has strengthened. After scoring just seven goals in 17 games last season, Chilean Hector Mancilla and Argentine Matias Vuoso have been signed at some expensive. The combination has huge potential.
And it´s not over yet. The next couple of weeks could bring move big names to Mexico. El Hadji Diouf, Alessandro Del Piero and even Florence Malouda are are some of the players to be mentioned in local press reports ...
Don´t forget to check back on Soccer365.com for a full team-by-team Apertura 2012 preview in coming weeks.
By Tom Marshall (@MexicoWorldCup)
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