Mexico pipeline to Europe flowing freely

Jorge Sanchez (right) and Edson Alvarez have been teammates at América and with Team Mexico. This week they were reunited at Ajax Amsterdam. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
Jorge Sanchez (right) and Edson Alvarez have been teammates at América and with Team Mexico. This week they were reunited at Ajax Amsterdam. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /
Mexico to Europe
Team Mexico right back Julián Araujo was being recruited by América to replace Jorge Sánchez but then FC Porto came calling. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /

With Jorge Sánchez settling into his new home at Ajax Amsterdam, América began the process of replacing the right back only to see another European club throw a spanner into the works.

Sánchez, 24, is on track to be a starting fullback for Mexico in Qatar and having a defender earn a few months of experience with the Dutch giant could be tantalizing for El Tri coach Gerardo Martino.

Last week, the Coahuila native signed a 5-year contract with the 36-time Eredivisie champs where he will be reunited with Edson Álvarez, a former América and fellow member of the Mexico squad destined for Qatar. Álvarez has won two Eredivisie titles and a Dutch Cup since transferring to Ajax in summer 2019.

Sánchez joins two other Mexico internationals in the Netherlands – midfielder Erick Gutiérrez (with PSV Eindhoven since summer 2018) and forward Santiago Giménez (signed by Feyenoord in late July).

Has Porto intercepted Araujo?

So América is now looking for a replacement for Sánchez as they do not have a natural replacement on their roster (20-year-old Emilio Lara played right back on Sunday in the Aguilas’ 2-1 win over FC Juárez but he is a central defender).

The front office sent Spaniard Jorge Meré (a central defender acquired from FC Köln in January) to clear out a roster spot for a foreigner, but reports indicate they want to fill that spot with an attacker, because they have their sights set on LA Galaxy (and Mexico) right back Julián Araujo.

However, just as América began negotiating with the 20-year-old defender, FC Porto swooped in and made an offer. Word is that Mexico coach Gerardo Martino has given his blessing and Araujo could be on his way to Europe by next week.

From Mexico to Poland

Another América product has left for Europe this month, that being 21-year-old defensive midfielder Santiago Naveda.

The Mexico City native burst onto the scene in January 2021 when injuries beset the Aguilas. Then-América coach Santiago Solari turned to the teenage academy product and he delivered. Naveda played in all 17 games, helping “Los AzulCremas” finish with the No. 2 seed.

Unfortunately, in August 2021, the youngster suffered a broken ankle, sidelining him for three months. By then, América’s veteran midfielders were back healthy and Naveda got lost in the shuffle, making only nine brief appearances over the past two seasons.

Eager to get more playing time, Naveda asked the front office for a move and a loan deal was arranged with Poland’s Miedz Legnica. The Polish club gets the midfielder for a year with an option to buy at the end of the loan term.

Naveda, Sánchez, Giménez (and Araujo?) pad a growing list of Mexicans going across the pond this summer to play in Europe. In addition to these four, Daniel Aceves (21-year-old left back from Pachuca) moved to Real Oviedo in the Spanish Segunda División, Jordan Carrillo (20-year-old attacking midfielder from Santos Laguna) moved to Sporting Gijón, also in Spain’s Segunda División, and Alán Montes (21-year-old central defender from Necaxa) also headed to Spain where he’ll play for another Segunda División side, Burgos.

Next. Home teams dominate on Liga MX M7. dark

One more potential move would see Alán Montes’ older brother César transfer from Monterrey to Dynamo Moscow but financial sanctions against Russia are making it difficult to finalize the transaction. César Montes, 25, has already agreed to the deal although Martino, the Mexico coach, is not too keen on Montes – a likely starter for Mexico in the World Cup – switching to the Russian league.