Each offseason, I like to spend the cold winter nights chasing down leads of transfer targets, and learning about soccer in parts of the world that I’m largely unfamiliar with. It’s a labor of love, and there are many fruitless hours spent on this.
This offseason, I’ve tried to learn as much about Colombian soccer as possible. Thanks to RSL fan ChiquiPelaez and a couple of other RSL fans from Colombia, I’ve become reasonably educated on the basics of Liga Postobon. Chiqui in particular has given me a lot of insight into specific players as you’ll see later.
Garth Lagerwey announced Wednesday night on OnFrame on ESPN700 Sports Radio “I’m hopeful that by the end of the week we’re going to have potentially some announcements at the forward position to make us look better at that position than we were last year.”
I have no inside scoop on what these announcements may be or any players involved. The Colombian press, and soccer blogs have all been about Colombian players returning from Major League Soccer (Montero, Juan Pablo Angel, Valdez, etc.). And while Lagerwey had previously indicated RSL was scouting the Colombian market heavily, this signing or signings could come from literally anywhere.
However, here is a pool of some of the more prominent unattached Colombian strikers, that has been whittled down from a much larger list immediately prior to the winter break.
Cristian Nazarit (22, Deportivo Cali): If the name looks familiar, it’s because he spent the 2o11 season with the Chicago Fire. He is a fast, strong player who scores goals. He played with the U-20 WC team. But he fell out of favor with the Cali coach. Would he consider a return to MLS. He did play with Kwame Watson-Siriboe, but I’m not sure how strong that connection is. I’m also not sure if Chicago maintains his rights.
Armando Carrillo (27, Atletico Huila): Experienced striker who came up through the Deportivo Cali system). A little on the older side. Would he be interested in making the jump to MLS at this point in his career? Has not been prolific goal scorer in Colombia over last five seasons (17 goals in 54 starts).
Jean Carlos Blanco (21, Atletico Huila): Exciting young player. Fast, and willing to take on defenders. A bit like Paulo Jr., but more willing to move in centrally. Has only seen 8 starts in Liga Postobon.
Victor Guaza (27, Equidad): Guaza is a bit like Wondolowski in that he’s a poacher who hangs out around the 18. Strong, and has more speed than Wondo. Has been mostly a sub over last couple of seasons.
There are two other players that were originally on the radar screen (Carmelo Valencia, Andrés Mosquera) but both appear to have homes, and unlikely to make a move to MLS at this time.
Of course, this is just the pool of unattached players. There would also be the possibility of a loan (or purchase) of a player currently under contract to a Colombian team. Cali has dealt the most with MLS teams (ala Jamison Olave), Nacional has a glut of forwards and appears interested in dumping payroll, and Millionarios tend to do a lot of wheeling and dealing.
Check back shortly for more thoughts on this topic.