While Mexico is producing plenty of talent, a reluctance on the part of the nation's clubs to sell their most promising players holds back talented prospects
The predicted outflux of young talent from Mexico is yet to materialize, and while it continues to have everything in the world to do with economics as much as the ability of young Mexican players, fans wouldn’t be crazy to start doubting if Mexico will ever have the amount of players abroad that other top Latin American nations do.
Of course, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There was news in terms of Diego Reyes move to Porto this summer. Make no mistake, this was a blockbuster deal, but its postponement until summer, though it makes plenty of sense, reduced the net movement abroad of Mexicans this winter to exactly one - Javier Aquino’s respectable transfer to Villarreal - overall a disappointing sum for those who like to see Mexican players in Europe.
There is more to come. When Reyes moves this summer, Marco Fabian, Jorge Enriquez and Hector Herrera are due to go as well. All were rumored to move last summer as well, and this winter, but none ended up with a complete deal.
That’s due in large part to Mexican clubs’ reticence to sell. That factors in especially in the case of Chivas, which doesn’t seem to want to sell its players even in the wake of the success of Javier Hernandez at Man United - or perhaps because of that success.
The Chivas situation is indicative of the problem Mexico-wide. If Jorge Vergara figures that he left value on the table when moving Chicharito, and doesn’t want to repeat the mistake with Fabian or Enriquez, he’s probably wrong.
Chicharito’s value – now estimated in the area of $25 million compared to the $10 million Chivas let him go for in 2010, is intertwined with his performance at Man United, and had reached a ceiling in Mexico. The added value that Hernandez has tacked on in the past two and half seasons is inherently related to his proving himself on the world’s biggest club stages, something he never could have done in Mexico.
Keeping players in Mexico hoping they’ll appreciate more than the current market value is a mistake for clubs and the players. Yet that seems to be what it’s come to in many places across the league.
For example, it looks as if Estudiantes -- a Liga de Ascenso team -- will prevent young winger Jurgen Damm from moving to Manchester United by asking too much for a player with little top level experience. European teams are interested in Mexicans, but they’re not stupid.
The attitude of America and Pachuca is extraordinary, as the clubs have been adamant about letting players go to prove themselves in Europe to see how they will do. That led to the deal for Reyes and the potential deal for Herrera, players who will soon test themselves on the biggest stages.
The story is not the same for Fabian and Enriquez, despite all the rumors. This summer it again seems inevitable they will go, though it’s impossible to discount the odds that Vergara and Chivas will once again come between them and top-level European soccer.
For El Tri’s sake, let’s hope that doesn’t happen. There’s plenty of talent in Mexico. Rather than being unreasonable, clubs need to learn when to let theirs go. Otherwise, more of these all smoke-and-no-fire transfer periods await.
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