Mexican goalkeeper and World Cup star Guillermo Ochoa is reportedly set for a move to Spanish club Malaga after turning down offers from several other high-profile teams.
The 29-year-old is currently a free agent after his contract with French club Ajaccio expired at the end of last season, and AS report he is set on a move to the La Liga side, via Tom Conn of InsideSpanishFootball.com:
According to Spanish sports daily, AS, Ochoa has rejected lucrative offers from several French Ligue 1 sides in order to make the move to Spain, which is the preferred destination of the 2014 World Cup star.
The report goes on to add that Ochoa’s representative, Jorge Berlanga, reached out to Malaga [...] to inform them that Ochoa would be getting his EU passport by the end of the summer and to put the final touches on the agreement. The two sides are close to finalising the deal, which could be announced as soon as next week.
While Ajaccio finished bottom of Ligue 1 last season and were relegated, Ochoa put in some fine performances and topped all other keepers in amount of saves made, as per WhoScored:
Guillermo Ochoa: Made more saves (147) than any other goalkeeper in Ligue 1 last season @GSilverstain— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 29, 2014
However, it was at the 2014 World Cup where he really made a name for himself with several stunning performances for Mexico, especially against the hosts in a 0-0 draw in the group stages, as per Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl:
Huge point for Mexico vs Brazil. Memo Ochoa fantastic--and out of contract in two weeks. CONCACAF 10 points of possible 15.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 17, 2014
Inevitably, rumours started circulating as to which club he would move to following his star turns in Brazil with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Liverpool reportedly expressing interest, as per Patricio Figueroa of Sky Sports.
Figueroa's report included confirmation from Ochoa himself that he had received a variety of offers from across Europe but that he would take his time in making a decision: "I have received several proposals. They are from French teams and others from Europe."
It seems that he has now decided to join Malaga, who have recently lost their first-choice keeper Willy Caballero to Manchester City.
Previously, Marseille was widely reported as being the most likely destination for Ochoa after his time with Ajaccio came to an end, as per Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson:
@mexicoworldcup Yeah, rumours are either Marseille or AC Milan. I think OM would be a good fit. He's talked the move up in public recently.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) May 14, 2014
But Malaga looks a better move for Ochoa as La Liga is a more high-profile, high-quality league than the French top division, and he can nail down the No. 1 spot after Caballero's recent departure.
His World Cup performances showed that he has the talent to play at the top level, and while Malaga are not the best team in La Liga, they have aspirations which will likely fit Ochoa's ambitions.
If he can help them to a top-four finish in La Liga next season and a Champions League spot, he will improve his reputation further than if he were to join one of Europe's top clubs and sit on the bench behind an established first-choice keeper.