Eight Mexican players – including five El Tri regulars – heard their names called during Europe’s summer transfer window, including four that will be making their debuts in the bright lights of the Old World.
Among the group, one Liga MX starlet made the leap across the pond at 22, while two veterans are moving from Mexico’s second division to Scotland’s Dundee United.
Perhaps that’s all for the better for the 30-year-old “Tecatito” who might hope to demonstrate his fitness closer to home so that Jimmy Lozano doesn’t forget about him in future selections.
Edson now ‘ forever blowing bubbles …’
Team Mexico fans ought to feel good about most of the moves that took place, especially Edson Álvarez’s jump to English Premier League competition.
El Tri midfielder Álvarez landed at West Ham – a significant upgrade from the Eredivisie where “El Machín” won two league titles and two domestic Cups. The stopper, 25, will get to test himself on the Continent too as the Hammers try to defend their Europa Conference League crown.
Álvarez has already made an impression on West Ham fans, earning glowing reviews while starting the past two games.
The América academy product is the fourth Mexican to play for the Hammers, following in the footsteps of Guillermo Franco (2010), Pablo Barrera (2010-2011) and “Chicharito” Hernández (2017-2020).
Two El Tri stars nail the landing … sort of
Two other El Tri stalwarts – defender César Montes and winger Hirving Lozano – made sideways moves just before the transfer window slammed shut.
Montes had demanded a trade or loan from relegated Espanyol – a team he joined from Monterrey in December – because he refused to play in second division.
The El Tri back-liner held out as first Mallorca, then Almería were turned aside by Espanyol management. América even got in on the bidding, but “El Cachorro” said he would NOT move back to Liga MX.
Early last week, PSV Eindhoven entered the Montes sweepstakes, but talks appeared to be stalled when Monterrey announced that it intended to take legal action against Espanyol for falling behind on payments related to the Montes acquisition.
The threatened lawsuit was enough to encourage cash-strapped Espanyol to accept a deal with Almería (the and the El Tri defender will remain in LaLiga even though naysayers point out that a move to PSV Eindhoven would have provided UEFA Champions League action.
Speaking of the Dutch giants, “The Farmers” did bring in a familiar face – “Chucky” Lozano.
Four years after leaving PSV for Napoli, the El Tri wingman is back in Eredivisie after an acrimonious departure from the reigning Serie A champions.
The Italian club told Lozano he didn’t really fit into their plans unless he signed a contract extension at a considerably reduced salary. “Chucky” said “Hell, no!” and a transfer away from Napoli was inevitable.
Lozano’s team batted aside an approach from MLS holders LAFC, holding out for an offer from a European club. Soon enough, Lozano’s former employers in Eindhoven came calling.
Though the move is a significant step back, the hope among El Tri fans is that “Chucky” gets plenty of playing time – especially in Champions League – and replicates the productivity he enjoyed from 2017 to 2020. In those four season, the Pachuca academy product scored 40 goals in 79 games for PSV.
Chávez’s move to Russia raises eyebrows
Another El Tri trouper – Luis Chávez – finally fulfilled his dream of a move to Europe, but Dinamo Moscow?
Chávez got a hand-shake deal from Pachuca to buy out his own contract to negotiate a free transfer and when nobody else made strong bids, the 27-year-old midfielder forced his way to Russia after an initial setback.
Well, it is Europe but sanctions prohibit Russian teams from playing in UEFA tournaments so Chávez will have to satisfy himself with domestic play in a league ranked only 9th-best in Europe.
Of more concern is the possibility that the man who patrols the left side of the El Tri midfield might be prevented from entering the United States due to his Russia connection.
On paper, the fate of Raúl Jiménez appears much more positive.
Jiménez was surplus to needs at Wolverhampton – struggling to regain the sparkling form of his pre-fractured skull days – but managed to find a new home within the EPL.
The 32-year-old striker will hope to work himself back into condition such that he is granted one last hurrah with El Tri. Though he might be seen as a long shot for the 2026 World Cup, an in-form Raúl would be a valuable addition to an Americas Cup (2024) or Gold Cup (2025) roster.
We realize that this list overlooks the move of El Tri right back Jorge Sánchez from Ajax to FC Porto and the relocation (from Inter Miami) to AEK Athens made by former Team Mexico stud Rodolfo Pizarro. So just go ahead and interpret that as an intentional oversight.
Also arriving to Europe …
Finally, 22-year-old winger Jorge Ruvalcaba will now make Belgium is home.
The UNAM product helped the El Tri U-21 team claim bronze at the 2022 Toulon tournament while earning recognition for his play with Pumas. He scored on his debut, a 5-0 win over Toluca on Jan. 11, 2022.
Then there’s Diego Pineda and Antonio Portales who are now teammates at Dundee United. Pineda, a 28-year-old striker, starred for Ascenso MX side Correcaminos last season, while Portales, a 27-year-old central defender arrives in Scotland from Atlante.