After a breakout season while on loan to Leon, the future of the teen striker remains in doubt.
Arriving on loan from Chivas in December 2018, Jose Juan Macias quickly became comfortable with his new Leon teammates. Together, the 19-year-old and the Esmeraldas had a fairy-tale Clausura season, finishing atop the regular-season table and advancing through the playoffs to the final.
Macias led all Mexican-born players in scoring, hitting the back of the net 8 times during the regular season and twice more in the playoffs. His production was extraordinary considering his stats for parent club Guadalajara. From 2017-2018, he only found the back of the net 6 times in all competitions for the Chivas.
Macias’ success can be attributed to the cameraderie Leon has developed over the course of the Clausura and the attacking style that benefited him and the other new players brought into the club (Angel Mena and former Arsenal winger Joel Campbell). Leon now looks like a club that could challenge for Liga MX supremacy for the next couple of years.
At the moment, Macias has left the Leon camp for international duty. He joined Mexico’s Under-20 team as it competes in the World Cup in Poland.
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Leon could rue letting him go though as they were shut out in the first leg of the Final against the Tigres, losing. French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is enjoying incredible form in the Liguilla and Leon will have to find a way to score on Sunday night without their young Mexican striker.
What does the future hold for young Macias? Despite having a stellar campaign with Leon, he is still a Chivas player. Earlier this season, he offered public criticism of the Guadalajara organization and his former teammates there. In addition, the Chivas shelled out big money for another young Mexican prospect, Alexis Vega. So it seems more likely that the Chivas would be willing to sell Macias rather than keep him.
If the Chivas sell him, then what? He may prefer staying with Leon, where he seems to have found a home and his loan deal provides a “buy” option. It is also possible that his production and potential will attract bids from rich clubs such as Monterrey or even the Tigres.
It is important that a developing player finds a club with which he has a positive relationship and that displays trust in him. In my opinion, Leon is that club. If Macias were to remain with Leon, he could develop into a scoring machine which would definitely benefit the Mexican national team.
Macias failed to score in the first group game at the World Cup – a 2-1 loss to Italy – and all eyes will be on young striker in the next game against Japan on Sunday. We will all be eager to see if his fine form for Leon will carry on with the the U-20 squad.