Santos Laguna brings in Diego Valdes from Monarcas

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Rocio Vazquez
The Chilean will move to his third team in his career, moving north to Torreon after three years in Morelia

Diego Valdes is headed north to join Santos Laguna, the club announced Thursday.

The Torreon-based team is signing the 24-year-old from Morelia, where Valdes arrived in 2016. He previously played for Audax Italiano in his native Chile. 

In addition to being one of Monarcas' most important starters the past several tournaments, Valdes re-emerged with the senior Chile national team in 2018. His debut came in a 2015 friendly match but this year saw him take part in eight friendly matches after La Roja fell short of qualification for Russia.

Valdes scored five goals and three assists in the 2017 Apertura and added another pair of goals and assists in the 2018 Clausura. 

This season, Valdes was less productive, with two goals and three assists in a tournament where Monarcas fell short of the postseason. That may be down to Raul Ruidiaz, his attacking partner in crime for several seasons who scored nine goals in the Clausura , moving to the Seattle Sounders in MLS this summer, leaving the club without many attacking weapons beyond Valdes himself. 

Moving to Santos will allow him to once again connect with top-level forwards, with Julio Furch and Jonathan Rodriguez both suiting up for manager Salvador Reyes' side. The Clausura champions, Santos is once again active in the transfer market this winter. Known for developing young talent, Santos jumped into the winter market after a first-round playoff elimination at the hands of Monterrey.

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The team may look markedly different than the side that lifted a trophy in May, with leading scorer Djaniny, center backs Carlos Izquierdoz and Nestor Araujo and manager Robert Siboldi all leaving the club in the summer and more moves coming this winter.

Santos reportedly is set to move on midfielders Brayan Garnica and Jesus Isijara to Atlas in exchange for forward Brayan Garnica.  Earlier in the week, Los Guerreros announced they had acquired center back Hugo Isaac Rodriguez from Puebla.

The full calendar is yet to be announced, but the Liga MX Clausura will start Jan. 4, 2019. Santos is expected to begin the year on the road after starting at home in the Apertura. The club also will take part in the Concacaf Champions League with a round of 16 series set against Honduran club Marathon.

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