Doubts remain over whether all the moves secured by top Mexican players this summer will ultimately work out.The first major signing of the summer in the Liga MX – Oribe Peralta from Santos Laguna to Club America - set the tone for the rest of the transfer window for Mexico’s top players.
In one fell swoop back in May, Las Aguilas signaled both their own spending power and that Mexicans clubs have to retain many of their best players.
The reported $10 million USD fee then, ironically, paved the way for one of only two major signings for Mexicans to Europe this transfer window: America’s Raul Jimenez to Atletico Madrid.
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America replaced an El Tri substitute at the World Cup with the starting striker and life went on, with the club currently in second place in the Liga MX Apertura table.
Granted, it wasn’t just the Liga MX’s ability to keep players that saw Mexicans stay home.
Miguel Layun wasn’t at his best at the World Cup, Carlos “Gullit” Pena suffered a loss of form and so did Isaac Brizuela.
Jose Juan “Gallito” Vazquez was a revelation in Brazil, but no move materialized, while at least one offer came in for Marco Fabian, although it wasn’t near what Chivas were looking for.
Other Mexican players that were in the squad for Brazil 2014 stayed right where they were beforehand, with the exception of – and again there is a healthy dose of irony in this – 35-year-old Rafa Marquez, who signed for Serie A outfit Hellas Verona from Leon.
A likely stumbling point for some European clubs was the example of Pablo Barrera and Efrain Juarez, who both returned swiftly to Mexico after being signed by British teams off the back of World Cup 2010 performances.
Over in Europe, that lingering unwillingness to take risks and pay big money for young Mexicans means Jimenez’s deal is increasingly important.
How Atletico’s substantial investment in a young, talented striker, who is yet to break into Mexico’s starting XI, will be watched very close elsewhere.
Sliding down to deals involving younger players, Porto took young Chivas goalkeeper Raul Gudino on a year’s loan with an option to buy, while Atletico Madrid brought in Diego Gama to its ‘B’ squad.
Both will have to earn permanent deals in their time at their respective clubs if they are to stay.
Within Europe, the obvious big deal was Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez going from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
That such an important club was interested in the Mexican highlights how high a regard he is held on the other side of the Atlantic. Hernandez’s marketing appeal doesn’t do Madrid any harm either, but it isn’t like it would’ve been reliant on the former Chivas player to sell shirts in Mexico or anywhere else.
Hernandez can do a job for Real Madrid on the field, but the only doubt over the move is clear: How many minutes will he play and will they be enough for him to win back his starting spot with El Tri?
That shouldn’t be a problem for Andres Guardado, who moved to PSV from Valencia, or Javier Aquino, who is on loan at Rayo Vallecano from Villarreal. Both are almost guaranteed minutes at their new clubs and, therefore, the changes of scenery should be considered positive steps.
That can’t be said for Jonathan Dos Santos or Guillermo Ochoa.
Dos Santos left behind his beloved Barcelona to join his brother Giovani at Villarreal, where he hasn’t played a game yet, while Ochoa is in a battle for a starting spot with Cameroonian Carlos Kameni at Malaga.
Dos Santos may need time to settle and regain full fitness after a serious injury, but Ochoa’s situation is baffling considering he was a free agent after leaving Ajaccio.
In Spain’s second division, Ulises Davila sealed a transfer deadline deal to CD Tenerife from Chelsea, when a step up to the first division would have been ideal for the 23-year-old.
Finally, Nery Castillo is still a free agent, while Alan Pulido will be if he wins his case against Tigres to acknowledge that his contracted ran out at the end of last season. Both forwards could sign for clubs in coming weeks.
Overall, Chicharito’s move was the cherry on top of the cake, with Jimenez the other major headline, but the biggest story this summer was the lack of movement of Mexicans from the Liga MX to Europe.