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Miguel Layun back in Mexico with Rayados

It’s the season of repatriation at Liga MX, apparently

Mexico Training Session & Press Conference - FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Another Mexican international is back in Liga MX after Miguel Layun made the move to Monterrey from La Liga outfit Villarreal on Jan. 30.

The deal was rumored to be for around $3.5 million. This means that Monterrey were not forced to pay Layun’s contract termination clause with Villarreal, which was reported to have been $7 million.

Layun’s return to the CONCACAF region had been speculated all throughout the season because of his age (30) and the lack of opportunities and playing time he experienced while in La Liga.

Layun appeared a total of 15 times on the pitch for El Submarino Amarillo in all competitions and never fully broke into the first team under coach Javier Calleja. His presence and performances for Villarreal this season were a far cry away from his best seasons in Europe, his first two in Portugal with FC Porto, where he was a regular starter and offensive contributor at both full-back positions.

Layun’s style screams versatility; the Veracruz-born defender has played at the midfield and featured on the wings many times during Juan Carlos Osorio’s run with the Mexican national team.

It’s unclear which position, then, that Monterrey will use him in. Full-back is the most likely destination as he’ll only have to battle with former AC Milan man Leonel Vangioni at left-back and Colombian international Stefan Medina at right-back. Vangioni and Medina are solid pieces but Layun’s international experience and leadership can force a seat for one of the two. It’s also very possible for Layun to play at wing-back, as Diego Alonso heavily used a 5-3-2 lineup with Monterrey last season and Layun has experience in that role while with Miguel Herrera at America.

In contrast, Alonso’s midfield is extremely bloated with Mexican rising stars in Carlos Rodriguez and Jonathan Gonzalez, established starters in Argentine international Maxi Meza and Jesus Gallardo, and players on the injured block like Jonathan Urretaviscaya.

Monterrey is currently at the top of the Liga MX table with 10 points and no losses, and they will certainly hope this move will keep them there. Layun will arrive in Mexico City to watch Rayados take on Pumas UNAM on Sunday, Feb. 3 and then travel with the team back to Monterrey after the match.

This move comes less than two weeks after Rayados’ arch-rival Tigres UANL also added a Mexican international defender to their ranks when Carlos Salcedo left Eintracht Frankfurt for Ricardo Ferretti’s side on Jan. 18.

Layun returns to Mexico where he made his professional debut with hometown side Veracruz before captaining and winning two titles with Club America.

While in Europe, Layun played with Watford in England, FC Porto in Portugal and Sevilla and Villarreal in Spain. He also had a brief one-season stint at Italian club Atalanta after leaving Veracruz.

He was a part of the Porto squad that won the 2017-18 Primeira Liga despite having left the club on loan during that season’s winter transfer window to Sevilla. He was also Portugal’s top assist leader during the 2015-16 campaign.

With El Tri, Layun has played in two CONCACAF Gold Cups — 2013 and 2015 — winning the latter, and also suited up for both the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups. He has been a part of CONCACAF’s annual best XI team twice: in 2015 and 2016.

The time is ticking for Liga MX clubs to make late additions to their squads. The winter transfer window closes after Jan. 31.

Is this a good move for Layun? For Rayados? Let us know in the comments down below!

You can follow Antonio on Twitter @antonio1998__