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Martino backs Lozano for move to elite club

11:59 am AEDT 26/3/19
Hirving Lozano Mexico 2019
With Napoli and Manchester United among the clubs reportedly interested in signing "Chucky," the El Tri boss said the winger is ready for a switch

Mexico manager Tata Martino says Hirving Lozano is ready to make a move to an elite European club and backed other El Tri players to make important transfers this summer as well.

Lozano moved to PSV from Pachuca two years ago and has turned heads virtually ever since. Rather than seeking a move after a World Cup performance this summer that saw him score a goal against reigning champion Germany, he stayed in the Eredivisie. 

His stock continued to rise, though, with stand-out showings in the Champions League. Now, clubs like Napoli and Manchester United are hoping to capture the winger's signature this summer. Wherever the 23-year-old goes, Martino said he's ready to shine at the next level.

"Taking an intermediate step in Dutch football or Portuguese football, that has been traditional for Latino players. I think Hirving has had an influential time in Holland and shown he can be a player who is incredibly valuable and can make the jump to the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s clear," he said at a news conference Monday, "I think from the analysis side of the player, he’s absolutely ready."

While Martino, who made his debut as Mexico manager with a 3-1 victory over Chile on Friday, has expressed ambivalence about which league his players are playing in, he also said there are plenty of national team players currently in the domestic league who could make a switch.

"I think there are several players. I haven’t been around all of them or had all of them in camp, maybe, we weren’t able to have everyone in we were hoping to in the local camp or at least we had to decide on some and not others," he said.

"If I had to say a name and say this player is ready to do it, I think Edson Alvarez is the one. He has World Cup experience and has been with an important club like America, he’s a player who can give you options playing as a center back or center midfielder."

The 21-year-old Alvarez lined up at right back for El Tri in the 2018 World Cup and has generated interest from both PSV and Ajax.

With both Lozano and Alvarez starting in the win over Chile, Martino may put each on the bench Tuesday in order to see more players get match action. The coach has 28 players in camp, enough to field a totally different starting XI against Paraguay.