Reports out of Mexico suggest that the out of contract Chivas USA defensive midfielder’s move south of the border is pretty much a formality, with some stories saying all that remains is for Paulo Nagamura to take a physical.
In fact, Tigres UANL has already announced the signing (in a Google-translated statement):
The club announces that it has reached agreement with the player Paulo Nagamura for the Bicentennial Tournament 2010, a loan with a purchase option.
The player will arrive in Monterrey on Friday, at 8:00 am, to be subjected to medical examinations and view details of their engagement for six months, joining the squad as soon sign a lease.
Why Tigres would consider the move a loan is unclear, but Stephen Hamilton, Chivas USA’s vice president of Soccer Operations, was moved to issue a statement this evening:
“Since Paulo’s contract expired at the end of last season, we have been making our best effort to renew his contact and bring him back to Chivas USA for the 2010 season. However, as a free agent, Paulo is able to explore other options, and we are aware that he has opportunities with other teams.”
Losing the former Galaxy and Toronto FC Brazilian midfielder would be a blow to Chivas USA and new Coach Martin Vasquez had made resigning him a priority. Nagamura, a six-year MLS veteran, added an eye and capability for a spectacular goal to his well-honed, hard-nosed repertoire this season in what was a career year.
Incidentally, one Chivas USA official I spoke with earlier today told me that the possibility of losing Nagamua was one of the things that made drafting defensive midfielder Blair Gavin such an attractive pick. Chivas USA staff were apparently surprised the Akron standout was still available when they picked tenth today, so they were pretty jazzed about that.
And Gavin could see substantial playing time, although Chivas USA also still have Marcelo Saragosa on the roster, of course, who is a similar player to Nagamura.