Following almost constant speculation in the Mexican and Spanish-language American press, Mexican international striker Omar Bravo has left Sporting Kansas City to return to the Mexican Primera, the club confirmed on Monday. He'll be leaving to join Cruz Azul, a team in need of reinforcements after a disappointing Liguilla upset. They'll be gunning to both compete in Copa Libertadores and finish top-eight in the Clausura in 2012, so it makes sense that they would want to add a player of Bravo's experience.
Bravo will help La Maquina up top, but he's not the only serious personnel change on the way at Estadio Azul. The core of the team that has regularly made Liguilla will stay intact, but a couple of key players will change, while the fringes of the squad could be changed entirely in the coming months.
In addition to Bravo's transfer, the club is being linked to Santos Laguna striker Oribe Peralta and Italian-Argentinian football legend Mauro Camoranesi, who currently plays for Lanus in Argentina. These are three massive names, but they're not being linked to La Maquina simply because of their name recognition. They're being linked to La Maquina because of who may leave in the near future.
'Tito' Emmanuel Villa has been a consistent goal-scorer since arriving at Estadio Azul in 2009, but could be leaving the club in the offseason. If he does, this makes the Bravo move and the Peralta rumors make a lot more sense. It could be a complete overhaul up top for Cruz Azul, and the same thing appears to be happening on the wings.
Javier Aquino finally fulfilled his promise in the Apertura 2011 and appears to be on the fringes of 'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre's first 23 for Mexico, and he's not going to be going anywhere this winter. However, Cesar Villaluz has already been allowed to leave, making his way to San Luis. Chilean left winger Hugo Drougett is not in Enrique Meza's long-term plans and has been placed on the transfer list. Edgar Andrade, another player on the fringes of the national team, could still have his purchase option picked up by Jaguares de Chiapas.
The cornerstone pieces of Jose de Jesus Corona, Fausto Pinto, Gerardo Torrado and 'Chaco' Christian Gimenez will still be playing for Cruz Azul in next season's Clausura and Copa Liberatadores. Which players make up the squad around them and how Enrique Meza decides to set up his team going forward is anyone's guess.