Mexicans in the UK : State of Play
A relatively successful World Cup in South Africa promised much for Mexico’s young stars and British clubs were quick to recognize their potential. Mexico were eventually eliminated by Argentina in the 2nd round but not before young stars such as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Giovanni Dos Santos had impressed where the faded, seniors had largely disappointed.
At the start of the season 5 stars of “El Tri” were snapped up but unfortunately the Mexican foray has been mixed at best.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez
Long before the World Cup had started Alex Ferguson pounced to sign Mexico’s new superstar. Impressive displays in the Mexican Primera Division for Chivas Guadalajara had attracted the attention of many European clubs but United boss was quick to avoid any bidding war. At first it was generally felt that the 22 year old would be eased into the 1st team but injuries and the lack of form of Wayne Rooney provided the youngster with early chances to impress. An opportunity he has not wasted.
In 16 competitive games Hernandez has notched 7 goals mainly coming on as an impact substitute. Indeed in his short spell at Old Trafford he has managed to score in all the competitions that Manchester United have entered : the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League. Hernandez has taken to English football like a duck to water and his £6 million transfer fee looks like the bargain of the season. A tireless work-rate, rapid pace and invention has impressed all in the first half of the season.
Giovanni Dos Santos
Unfortunately things have gone less well for Dos Santos in his second season at Tottenham Hotspur. Despite being voted as the 2nd best youngster in South Africa he has failed to replicate his International form in England. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is clearly frustrated at the winger’s lack of form and believes that his social life is the root of the problems saying;
“If he could pass a nightclub as well as he can pass a ball he would be alright”
Unfortunately Dos Santos has failed to head his boss’s warnings and appearances have been mainly made in the League competitions this year. Added to this the acquisitions of Rafeal Van De Vaart and lately Stephan Pienaar have pushed him further down the pecking order. As a result he has been linked with many clubs from Real Zaragoza (coached by former Mexico boss Javier Aguirre), Liverpool and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Ukraine. It looks like his time at White Hart Lane is over.
West Ham United Barrera signed from Mexican giants PUMAS (Mexico City Universidad Nacional) after impressing in South Africa. Initially for a 4 year period with a one year option the winger was captured for £4 million. Despite impressing in bursts Barrera has struggled to cement a place in West Ham’s first eleven. However given that West Ham are rooted to the bottom of the table and under strained, management there may be little room for a luxury player on the flanks like Barrera. His inclusion against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup may prove to the start of a prolonged run in the team but the player must be frustrated at mainly being used as a substitute.
Left Back Salcido moved from PSV Eindhoven to Fulham when Mark Hughes took over at Craven Cottage close season. After making a fine debut against Blackburn Rovers he has managed 11 League appearances and played in a couple of cup games. Injuries have played their part but generally the 30 year old has taken well to his first year in England and he is a first team regular.
Despite attracting offers from England and the continent Juarez opted, somewhat surprisingly to head north and to Scottish giants Celtic for the start of this season. Again despite impressing in early displays the 22 year old has drifted out the first team at Parkhead and it now seems that he will go out on loan for the remainder of the season. This had baffled many fans as their seems to be no reason other than he is not in plans of manager Neil Lennon as his midfield displays have impressed the Parkhead faithful. One reason may lie in the amount of players Lennon has brought to Celtic which has increased competition for places in a successful side.
Interestingly Celtic were going to sign Adrian Ruelas from Santos Laguna in the Mexican Primera Division. However after a short trial period a contract was not offered also ending a club partnership between the teams.
Bereft of first team action again Vela has been farmed out to West Bromwich Albion for the rest of the season. At only 21 much is expected of Vela who continues to impress on the international stage.