The Tijuana Xolos have already suffered their biggest loss of the Apertura 2018 before the tournament has even started.
On Monday, May 21, Cruz Azul officially announced the acquisition of Pablo Aguilar from Club Tijuana, and it will be a substantial blow to the Aztec Canines.
Aguilar was arguably the best player on Diego Cocca’s squad throughout the Clausura 2018 and was also arguably one of the best signings of the season.
The Paraguayan centre-back transformed the Xolos’ backline and made it into the best in the Clausura 2018 with just 12 goals allowed during the regular season.
The 31-year-old was especially great at clearances as he averaged over six clearances per game throughout the season. The defense will be losing stability and the Xolos will be losing a leader with this departure.
The Paraguayan defender was part of Xolos’ Clausura 2012 championship team and he did say that he wanted to lead Club Tijuana to another title when he was signed earlier in the year. That title almost came this season, in large part due to Aguilar’s efforts, but he could not accomplish his second league title with Los Rojinegros.
The South American skipper was seemingly everywhere on the field in some instances for the Xoloitzcuintles and the team would not have been the same without him. The border city side will surely not be the same after Aguilar’s departure, and the search for a suitable replacement will need to start soon.
A name that is already being linked is Hugo Martin Nervo of Argentine team Huracan. Huracan had a stupendous year in the Superliga Argentina, finishing in fourth place, and Nervo’s performances throughout the season made a huge impact.
— CRUZ AZUL FC ® (@Cruz_Azul_FC) May 21, 2018
The 27-year-old stands at 6 feet with a solid physical presence, and he is Huracan’s team captain, so he does possess that leadership trait.
Nervo averaged 8.3 clearances per game this season in Argentina and does seem like an exciting signing to take Aguilar’s place. However, there are several risks involved in the signing as the Argentine centre-back has never played in the Liga MX before and may struggle to adapt briskly.