A strong domestic league, both in playing quality and financially, means Mexican clubs can hold onto stars longer than before.
Marco Fabian will stay put. Jonathan Dos Santos will stay put. And the odds are frighteningly high that Giovani Dos Santos will be wearing a Tottenham shirt - on the bench at least - come Monday.
What was shaping up as a busy transfer period for Mexicans - especially given the Olympic gold medal run - has come to a quiet whimper of an end. That’s a bit of a surprise. In years past, half the Olympic team would certainly have been snatched up by European giants in search of a quick fix somewhere on the field. They’re all good enough to merit a European spot.
But in 2012, things are different. UEFA austerity rules are set to kick in, and, along with a looming double dip recession across the continent, appetites to spend have dwindled to a mere shadow of what they were just a couple of years back.
It’s all come at a bad time if you’re a Mexican wanting to play in Europe. As Mexican stock continues to rise worldwide, the relative financial strength of the Mexican league means it takes a pretty penny to pry a future star away from his Liga MX club.
The reported $16 million bid by Manchester United for Hector Herrera is evidence of the high price Mexican clubs are asking - rightfully so, it could be added - for their Olympic champions. The asking prices for the likes of Hiram Mier, Jorge Enriquez and Javier Aquino are likely in that ballpark as well, while Marco Fabian’s price tag would probably be double the $10 million Manchester dished out for Javier Hernandez two summers ago.
So no one will be moving this summer. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. All of Mexico’s young stars are still on the ascent, and getting continued and regular playing time in Mexico is hardly a worst case scenario. The Liga MX continues to improve, and would be rated by most impartials as one of the top 10 in the world, so moves in the name of improving as a player can wait.
The lack of transfers is also not a concern since it’s a phenomenon not happening only in Mexico. In the midst of its own financial strength and a strong real, Brazilian clubs are not only holding on to many of their stars, such as Neymar, longer, but also beginning to attract big-name talent from Europe.
As El Tri’s emerging stars continue to develop and improve in Mexico, many will eventually attract full priced offerings that Mexican clubs can’t turn down. At that point, moves will come about.
Somewhat more troublesome, though, are the situations of Mexico’s Europe-based stars struggling for playing time at their current clubs. Gio Dos Santos’ situation has been analyzed repeatedly; sufficed to say that it’s a crime he still hasn’t been let go this late in the summer. The clock is ticking.
Brother Jonathan’s potential loan to Sevilla looks to be completely off, though. That’s troublesome in that the young midfielder’s development is entering a crucial period during which top level playing time becomes absolutely essential. Both Dos Santos situations bear watching in the coming months.
Also ripe to try new pastures would be veterans like Oribe Peralta and Jonathan Orozco. Both have been rumored targets of mid-table teams in high end European leagues, but nothing concrete has materialized.
Again, that’s more because the asking price of Mexican clubs for their key pieces is out of the range of many middling European clubs. But it’s still a shame to see more Mexican players not get the chance to compete in Europe, and prove themselves under the brightest of world soccer’s lights.
In the meantime, as the reverse flow of players grows, Liga MX continues to import more talent from Europe. Perhaps the day is coming when Mexican teams become more willing to part with their homegrown talent wanted in Europe, as European players become more accessible and common in Mexico.
Until then, expect only the priciest, most talented Mexican internationals to move on to the ranks of European soccer. Which means more quiet transfer periods like this one.
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