With their need for a reliable striker highlighted in the first leg of their quarterfinal match-up against Toluca, will America move for a proven Liga MX scorer?
It’s almost time for the winter break in Liga MX, and that means the rumor mill starts working itself up. One such rumor that is making the rounds is that Club America has offered Andres Ibarguen and Renato Ibarra to Santos Laguna in exchange for Los Guerreros’ top scorer, Julio Furch.
In 16 appearance with Santos Laguna in the Apertura 2018 regular season, Furch notched 12 goals. More impressive was his 0.8 goals per match came on just 1.7 shots per match! That’s nearly a goal every two shots. For comparison’s sake, Andre-Pierre Gignac led Liga MX with 16 goals, scoring at a pace of 0.9 goals per match on 3.9 shots per match.
The 29-year-old Furch was very good last season as well, scoring 18 goals the 2017 Apertura and 2018 Clausura combined.
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This has been a career year for Furch, but Club America would be getting a striker with a proven record in Liga MX. Their current forward group is led by Oribe Peralta with 5 goals, but his last goal came back on September 21 in a 3-2 victory at Puebla. Henry Martin has shown glimpses of potential, but hasn’t scored as many goals in his career as Furch has this Apertura. Roger Martinez was brought for a large sum of money and with high hopes, but has found it harder to adjust to Liga MX than America had anticipated. The three America forwards have combined for just 10 of the 33 goals America scored on the season. While it shows the strength of America’s other positions, forward is clearly an area of need.
The recent first leg match with Toluca underlined this need. Las Aguilas got two goals from their center backs, but from open play offense was harder to come by. This is largely due to the fact that the vast majority of the America offense has to rely on players deeper on the pitch.
Julio Furch would be an upgrade, certainly, and his addition would potentially make the best goal-scoring team in Liga MX this Apertura that much scarier in attack. However, would it be worth the cost of Andres Ibarguen and Renato Ibarra?
Ibarguen came to America in January of 2018 from Racing but inconsistency and the occasional bone-headed mistake has made his a name that Americanistas wouldn’t be too sad to watch leave the club.
Renato Ibarra would be the tougher one to let go. The Ecuadorian midfielder has been the club’s main playmaker since coming to Las Aguilas in 2016. Ibarra’s control and vision have made him a staple on the right side of the pitch and the offense has driven through him a majority of the time. Just 27 years old, would America be giving Ibarra away before he really takes off?
If we assume the rumors are true and Furch does join Las Aguilas at the cost of Ibarra and Ibarguen, what would the lineup look like? Jeremy Menez should be back for the Clausura and Diego Lainez figures to play a bigger role in the next campaign, as well. Perhaps the return and increased role of those two players would make up for anything lost from losing Renato. With that in mind, maybe Las Aguilas would use a 4-2-3-1 like this:
Lainez – Menez -Dominguez
Uribe – Rodriguez
Sanchez – Aguilera – Valdez – Alvarez/Aguilar
Would that be markedly better than the current line-up? I’m not sure, to be honest. A lot will depend on how Miguel Herrera – assuming he’s still the manager – decides to play. If he continues the conservative style he’s been using, I’m not sure a move for Furch would be best. Then again, maybe a player like Furch, coupled with the return of Menez and the continued growth of Diego Lainez would give Piojo more confidence in attack.
If I have to make a choice, I’m saying go for it. America has lacked a top-tier goal scorer for a while. While they’ve been able to be among the top teams without one, getting a proven guy like Furch might help the club take the next step towards becoming a dominant team, like many Americanistas expect them to be.