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LAFC transfer Cristian Arango to Pachuca

Another prolific No. 9 departs for black-and-gold.

Brenton Tse

LAFC announced on Tuesday they have transferred forward Cristian Arango to Liga MX club CF Pachuca. A transfer fee for the deal has not been disclosed by either club, although that information will likely drop through credible reports on either side of the border.

“We knew coming out of a successful 2022, we would need to make a major move, and likely a difficult decision ahead of roster compliance,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in a team statement. “We evaluated all possibilities and this transfer provides the needed resources and flexibility to continue our ambition of winning trophies. Whenever possible, we work with the player, as we did in this case upon receiving Chicho’s request. Chicho will forever remain an important part of LAFC, and we wish him and his family all the best in the next stage of his career at Pachuca.”

“I am very grateful to everyone at LAFC,” Arango said. “Thank you to all the fans and to the 3252 for all of the beautiful moments we were able to share, and for us to become champions together.”

Arango, 27, joined LAFC in the summer of 2021 from Colombian club Millonarios. In a season and a half, Arango scored 35 goals in 57 competitive games for the black-and-gold, across all competitions, including 21 goals in 40 games in 2022, as LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield-MLS Cup double. MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2021, Arango was LAFC’s leading scorer in both seasons he played for the club.

Reports emerged earlier this month that Arango asked for a new contract from LAFC, and seemed to have been told no by the club, which led to further rumors that LAFC were dangling him as trade bait around MLS as they sought to pick up a record windfall in a deal within the league. It does appear that cap considerations played a role — every player who wins MLS Cup gets a bonus, and those impact the subsequent season’s cap numbers, which means that title-winning teams often have to make a few difficult decisions to balance the books.

At the same time...LAFC now have a record of signing productive forwards who don’t stay for long. They’ve been fortunate to hit on Adama Diomandé, Bradley Wright-Phillips and now Arango, but for various reasons, each player’s left within two calendar years. At some point, they’re going to sign a central striker who can’t score, given how fast they go through No. 9s.

Still, Arango will hopefully get paid and get to play in a good league in Mexico, and LAFC will get salary relief from the deal. And oh yeah, LAFC and Pachuca could meet in the MLS-Liga MX Supercup later this year, Campeones Cup. So we may see Chicho on the other team as soon as this season. Hopefully he won’t be a killer in that case, but best wishes to him moving forward in his career.

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