ESPN Deportes’ Eric Gomez reported on Tuesday that out-of-contract defender Walker Zimmerman is a “player of interest” to Liga MX outfit Club Tijuana, after Xolos hired former FC Dallas boss Oscar Pareja as their new manager this week.
Zimmerman, who played for Los Angeles Football Club in 2018, has an offer to re-sign on the table from the club, but after MLS reportedly rejected a TAM deal earlier this year to lock up the center back, he is reportedly looking at opportunities abroad, with previous ties to several European leagues.
Zimmerman, who was acquired in LAFC’s first big MLS trade for a player for well over $500,000 in allocation money last December, made 26 appearances in the league in 2018, scoring four goals and an assist, as he helped lead the expansion team to the playoffs.
The ties to Pareja are obvious, as Zimmerman played for the Colombian in Dallas from 2013-17. However, as FC Dallas fell apart over the second half of the 2017 season, the scuttlebutt was that Zimmerman ended up in Pareja’s “doghouse” and Dallas were more than willing to part with him in the offseason, hence LAFC getting a chance to pick him up.
So this rumor makes some sense, and in other ways it doesn’t really. Zimmerman is a big, physical center back, he’s still only 25, so I can see why teams are intrigued. I’m not sure Liga MX fits his skill set the best, however. Tijuana likely want a USMNT player to re-establish a winning tradition with Americans playing a major role, to appeal to potential fans stateside. And there’s the ties between Zimmerman and Pareja, which could frankly be a plus or minus depending on how their relationship is.
But...this also feels a bit like an agent trying to play up interest in a client to drive up the player’s value. Zimmerman is in an enviable position right now, as a free agent foreign teams are more likely to sign him since they don’t have to pay a transfer fee. Is it out of the realm of possibility that Xolos would want Zimmerman? Not at all. Does it seem likely he’ll end up in TJ? At the moment, that doesn’t seem especially likely.
Stay tuned on this and all transfer rumors, incoming and outgoing, for LAFC.
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