La Liga kicked off in eventful fashion this past weekend, with plenty of insights about how the rest of the season could pan out for the Mexicans involved – or not.
Outside of Spain, Andres Guardado’s future is once again a hot topic, with reports linking him with a move to the Netherlands, while Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was given a stark reminder of his place in the club’s pecking order on Sunday.
Here are the main talking points regarding Mexicans in Europe this past weekend:
Ochoa has a battle on
Let’s be honest, when Guillermo Ochoa signed for Malaga, it seemed a solid, if unspectacular, move – largely because of the very high probability that the former Club America ‘keeper would be the starter.
It therefore came as a surprise when Malaga coach Javi Gracia named Carlos Kameni in goal to face Athletic Bilbao in the league opener, with Ochoa left on the bench.
“If (Kameni) has played, it is because I believed that he was the best option for the game,” said Gracia after the match. “I’m very happy with both goalkeepers and in the future we will see what happens.”
The fact Kameni played well, kept a clean sheet, and the team won didn’t do the Cameroon international’s chances of remaining the starting ‘keeper any harm at all.MORE: Balotelli in photos | Done deals | Hottest WAGs
In shouldn’t be forgotten that Kameni has featured in the majority of the preseason games, with Ochoa’s involvement against Fiorentina far from convincing, and, secondly, that Kameni has just signed a new contract with Malaga.
Just as it seemed Ochoa had nailed down the national team starting spot for the foreseeable future, he’s now in a fight just to get games at Malaga.
Guardado on the move?
Everything seems to be pointing to Andres Guardado completing a loan move to PSV Eindhoven very shortly.
Press reports in the Netherlands, Mexico and Spain have confirmed that the interest is real and that both the clubs and the player are in agreement about the move.
The 27-year-old Guardado was left out of Valencia’s squad for its 1-1 draw Saturday against Sevilla and reports from the Netherlands suggest a medical in Eindhoven could take place as early as Monday.
The club and league would undoubtedly be a step down, but PSV is top of the Eredivisie at present – with 12 goals from its first three games – is set to feature in the Europa League and has a bright, young manager in Philip Cocu. Guardado would also be much more likely to get regular minutes than at Valencia.
A move to PSV would offer Guardado the opportunity to continue to hold his place in the Mexican national team after his excellent World Cup.
Decision time for Hernandez, United
The camera shots after Manchester United’s 1-1 draw away to Sunderland on Sunday showed a glum-looking Hernandez briefly exchange words with the Black Cats' Uruguayan manager Gus Poyet.
While it would obviously be over the top to put too much emphasis on it, there is no doubt that a host of clubs needing a proven striker ahead of the transfer deadline will be looking at Hernandez.
There will be conversations between the player’s agent, the club and Hernandez in coming days. It is even possible he puts in a formal transfer request to force the club’s hand. After all, if he didn’t get on the pitch against Sunderland with the team searching for a winning goal, what chance does he have of regular starts and earning his place back in El Tri?
Giovani dos Santos on course for best season
Villarreal’s 2-0 win on Sunday over Levante won’t go down as one of Dos Santos’ best games.
But it did provide a reminder that the 25-year-old is in a very good place to perform this season. Dos Santos’ partnership with Ikechukwu Uche up front is set to grow from strength to strength, while the addition of Russian Denis Cheryshev on the left wing also bodes well for the Mexican.
Dos Santos went close twice in the first 15 minutes on a poor playing surface and is in position to be a focal point of a team that will once again challenge for a Champions League place.
Patience needed with Jonathan dos Santos
The younger Dos Santos brother wasn’t involved this weekend for Villarreal and it naturally raised some eyebrows among Mexico fans.
But with the 24-year-old coming into the season off the back of an ACL injury and being short of match fitness, it would be unwise to judge his situation before we know exactly how coach Marcelino sees him fitting in.
There is ultimately no guarantee that it will work out for Dos Santos at Villarreal and, by extension, with the Mexico national team, but it is far too early to ascertain one way or the other after just one game of the season.