Mexican playmaker joins Phoenix on loan

The Wellington Phoenix are delighted to announce Mexican playmaker Gael Sandoval has arrived in Sydney, completing his loan move from Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas).

While the deal has been much talked about for most of this month, the paperwork, including vital travel documentation, was only finalised late last week.

Sandoval, 26, will be able to start training with his new teammates after he has self-isolated for 72 hours and returned a negative Covid test, but he won’t be available to play for the Phoenix until the 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League men’s season transfer window opens on January 14.

TThe creative midfielder has made 119 appearances in Mexico’s top division (Liga MX) for Santos Laguna, Chivas, FC Juárez and Mazatlan since 2016, scoring seven goals and creating 16 others.

Sandoval spent 2021 on loan at Mazatlan, playing 17 times across Liga MX’s Clausura and Apertura seasons, but is now ready for the challenge of playing abroad.

“It’s been a goal for me to play in another country and my dream to play outside of Mexico,” Sandoval said.

“I’m hungry and I want to help the Phoenix win the title.

“I feel so good. I want to play to win and to help the team.”

Sandoval was a teammate of Ulises Dávila at Santos Laguna and will endeavour to follow in the footsteps of the reigning Johnny Warren medallist at Wellington.

“I talked with Ulises before I talked with the Phoenix,” Sandoval said.

“Uli has told me the team is great, New Zealand is great…and it’s a good life.

“He explained about everything; the team, the coach, the city and he supported me.”

Dávila now plays in Sydney for Macarthur FC and will help Sandoval adapt to life in Australia, where the Phoenix remain based for the foreseeable future.

“I think it’s important because everything is new for me. Some things may be difficult for me at the beginning.”

He says he’s versatile and able to play across a number of attacking positions.

Sandoval describes himself as a dynamic player in the final third who is a fast thinker with good vision.

The Wellington Phoenix look forward to seeing him display those skills in a Phoenix shirt.