There has been a whirlwind of activity involving current and former members of El Tri this past week or so and most of it is positive.
The most recent transaction is Raúl Jiménez’s move from Wolves to Fulham. The Cottagers are set to take on the one-time El Tri mainstay who has one year remaining on his contract.
The 32-year-old striker was supposed to be Mexico’s star forward at last year’s World Cup but the Club América product has never full recovered from the horrendous head injury he suffered in 2020.
As it was, Raúl saw just spot duty with El Tri, playing in all three matches but only for a total of 56 minutes.
Another Team Mexico player in the EPL?
Defensive midfielder Edson Álvarez has been rumored to be departing Ajax most of the offseason.
Last month, Borussia Dortmund appeared to have pipped Bayern Munich for Edson’s signature but backed off when Ajax’s asking price was deemed too high.
The latest reports have West Ham United kicking Edson’s tires. The Hammers lost midfield stalwart Declan Rice to Arsenal and Álvarez – a Club América product just like Jiménez – is considered an adequate replacement.
His performance with El Tri during the Gold Cup earned positive reviews from a BBC journalist and West Ham scouts took notice.
The 25-year-old Tlalnepantla native left the Aguilas in 2019 – a year after starring for El Tri at Russia 2018 – and has enjoyed considerable success during his four-year run in the Eredivisie.
Whither thou goest, Luis Chávez?
Pachuca midfielder Luis Chávez was preparing to board a plane to Moscow last week, but global banking sanctions against Russia scuttled that move.
As one of the lone bright spots for El Tri in Qatar last year, Chávez thought his dreams of playing in Europe would soon be fulfilled. But nobody came knocking. At least not anybody willing to pay what Pachuca was asking.
So after another season with the Tuzos and a decent showing with Team Mexico this summer, Dinamo Moscow came calling. But the talks collapsed since there was no feasible way for the Russian club to pay the buyout fee.
So Pachuca management worked out a deal whereby the 27-year-old midfielder paid the buyout fee himself and Chávez is now a free agent. The Jalisco native could see if Dinamo Moscow is still interested or even shop himself to other clubs in Europe.
This will be worth keeping an eye on.
Santi to remain in Feyenoord?
Young striker Santiago Giménez was Mexico’s Gold Cup hero, scoring the winning goal for El Tri in its 1-0 victory over Panama in the final.
Naturally, that set off rumors that “El Bebote” would be in demand.
Quickly enough, there were reports that Tottenham were interested (if they offloaded Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, that is). And then Portugal’s Benfica was linked to the 21-year-old forward.
However, his club Feyenoord – reigning Eredivisie champions – seems inclined to keep Santi and chase another title … unless some club ponies up 20 million euros.
If the kid has another good season with the Dutch kings, he could be in great demand during the summer 2024 transfer window.
Former El Tri star finally gets to Europe
Rodolfo Pizarro was supposed to a big-time playmaker with Mexico, but injuries just kept getting in the way.
The offensive midfielder won three Liga MX titles (Clausura 2016 with Pachuca, Clausura 2017 with Chivas and Apertura 2019 with Monterrey) but did not have the same luck with El Tri.
A serious knee injury during the 2016 Olympics cut short one stint with Mexico and assorted nagging muscle pulls and medical considerations (including appendicitis) kept him from shining on the national team stage. Pizarro didn’t even make the 2018 World Cup roster.
In 2020, the Tampico native joined Inter Miami from Monterrey but failed to impress such that he again missed out on a World Cup. Even though Gerardo Martino had looked at him at length as the team’s offensive general during the qualifying campaign, his form in MLS was such that he was left off the 2022 Qatar roster.
Then last month, when Inter Miami acquired Lionel Messi, the club released Pizarro. This setback might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, however. Pizarro signed with AEK Athens where he will be reunited with coach Matías Almeyda, his boss at Guadalajara, and with Orbelín Pineda, a teammate on the Chivas championship team and an El Tri mate.
At 29 years old, Pizarro could enjoy some productive years in Europe if he remains healthy. Unfortunately with Rodolfo, that is a rather big “if.”