Tom Marshall: Five Mexico-based players ready to make the jump to Europe

As the European transfer window moves towards its conclusion, Liga MX is a good source of talent for clubs looking for some last-minute bargains.
The countdown is on before the European transfer window slams shut on Sept. 2, and the knock-on effect of clubs scrambling to complete squads is already being felt in Mexico.

Monterrey’s Dorlan Pabon is set to join Valencia after just seven games for the club, with Los Rayados admitting that there was nothing they could do to stop the Spanish team paying the $10 million release clause in the Colombian’s contract.

Then there is the case of Marco Fabian, who is set to leave Chivas after the club confirmed he is in negotiations with a foreign club.

As European teams increasingly look to Mexico as an attractive market for players, here are five realistic European targets that may well be worth taking a punt on.

1.   Jefferson Montero – Morelia

The 23-year-old Ecuadorian winger has started the Liga MX like a man possessed, scoring five goals in five starts and proving impossible to stop at times with his speed and balance.

Now much more mature than when he played for Villarreal, Levante and Real Betis in La Liga, Montero was a target for Club America this summer, although it seems like he was waiting for bids from Europe.

Reports from the UK have linked Montero to Cardiff City, West Ham, Everton and Crystal Palace over the last few months. And if a story from The Guardian in June saying his release clause is just 3 million pounds is to be believed, Montero could be one of the bargains of the summer.

2. Jorge Torres Nilo - Tigres

The Tijuana-born, Leon-raised defender has been the regular starting left back for first Atlas and then Tigres for over six years. At 5' 11", 25 years of age and with 34 games with El Tri under his belt, Torres Nilo is ripe for a European challenge.

Tigres coach Ricardo Ferretti has said that Torres Nilo will stay at least until the end of the 2013 Apertura, but with purported interest from a team in Russia, enough money could change that.

There have been reports that Tigres are asking for at least $6 million for the player.

3.   Oribe Peralta – Santos Laguna

Known outside of Mexico for his goals that won El Tri Olympic Gold last summer in London, Peralta has started the season in fine form for both club and country, scoring seven goals in five games.

At 29-years-old, time could be running out on a European move and he has previously stated he is happy at home-town club Santos Laguna, where he is one of the best-paid players in the league.

However, there must be some desire to test himself on the other side of the pond and although the transfer fee and wages would be a major obstacle, there have been few better players in Mexico over the last few years: Peralta has 46 goals in his last 67 league matches.

4. Fidel Martinez – Club Tijuana

Martinez has raw talent in bundles. When the Ecuadorian first arrived in Mexico with Xolos, that was obvious, but the question mark was whether or not he could knuckle-down, focus and improve his overall game, not just the easy-on-the-eye step-overs.

The 23-year-old winger has passed every test asked of him since and this season is taking more responsible since Colombian Duvier Riascos left the club.

He now tracks back, works hard for the team and would be a good asset for many clubs in Europe’s top divisions.

5.   Raul Jimenez – Club America

It’s rare that a player combines a strong physical presence with mobility and good technique with their feet, but 22-year-old forward Jimenez has all those qualities. He can play as a number 9, a second striker or even on the wing.

The way he has stepped up this season without the prolific Christian Benitez alongside him shows he is maturing and capable of taking on a challenge.

The price tag is likely to be high for Jimenez – his former teammate and friend Diego Reyes left to Porto for $9 million, which will put some teams off, but he’s at the right age and possesses all the necessary qualities to succeed in the Old Continent.