Cementeros must pour new foundation yet again

Cruz Azul players walk off the field after defeating Atlético San Luis in the season finale. (Photo by Carlos Ramirez/Getty Images)
Cruz Azul players walk off the field after defeating Atlético San Luis in the season finale. (Photo by Carlos Ramirez/Getty Images) /
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Cementeros try to rebuild
Cruz Azul fans might like to see the mercurial Ake Loba wearing a Cementeros jersey. The young striker from Ivory Coast showed tremendous promise this past year with Querétaro, helping the Gallos Blancos qualify for the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. (Photo by VICTOR CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images) /

Roster turnover likely to be significant

The Cementeros are expected to remain active in the transfer market, as both sellers and buyers, and are especially on the lookout for goalscorers.

So far, they have been linked to Necaxa’s Mauro Quiroga and Querétaro’s Ake Loba, two strikers with contrasting styles.

Quiroga, 30, arrived to the Liga MX over the summer from Chile’s Cúrico Unido. The burly Argentine led the league in goals (12) and added a team-high 5 assists so he might cost more than the Cementeros are willing to pay.

Cementeros rebuild
Cruz Azul coach Robert Siboldi is helping to reconstruct the Cementeros’ roster heading into the Clausura 2020. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /

Ake Loba is a 21-year-old striker from the Ivory Coast who has spent the past two seasons with the Gallos Blancos, scoring 7 times. He is quick and elusive with the ball at his feet and would be ideal if Cruz Azul wishes to adopt a counter-attacking style of play.

Cruz Azul had been in talks to acquire Santos winger Brian Lozano – an MVP candidate after a sterling performance in the Apertura 2019 (9 goals and 6 assists), but then Los Angeles FC upped the bidding. Lozano won the Clausura 2018 Liga MX title when Siboldi coached the Guerreros, but if LAFC flashes more cash than the Cementeros can afford, the Uruguayan playmaker will likely head north.

Elsewhere across the roster, Cruz Azul has a lengthy list of “transferables.” In addition to goalie Allison, forwards Martín Cauteruccio, Bryan Angulo and Edgar Méndez (all originally acquired by then-general manager Peláez). Cauteruccio had been a starter, but suffered a dry spell and fell out of favor. Angulo was a panic buy in August and he was a bust, while Méndez has failed to live up to his contract.

Midfielders Javier Salas and Stephen Eustaquio are also on the outs. Salas was the regular starter as holding midfielder but paled in comparison to Iván Marcone who sparked the Cementeros to the Apertura 2018 Final.

Eustaquio has already returned to Portugal, sent back on loan to second division club Paços de Ferreira. The young midfielder was acquired in January on the advice of then-Cruz Azul coach Pedro Caixinha but he suffered a knee injury only a few weeks after his arrival and was only returning to fitness in late November. By then, Caixinha had been sacked and new coach Robert Siboldi preferred other midfield options.