When I first arrived in Mexico in 2005, a Mexican was just about to make the opposite journey. Jared Borgetti, Mexico’s all time top scorer at international level, signed for Bolton Wanderers and played one season for them, becoming the first ever Mexican to play in the English Premier League. He scored seven goals in all competitions. Not good enough, so Bolton said adios.
That pretty much set the standard for Mexicans in the Premier League*. It is a tough league, arguably the toughest. Not only according to skill and speed that is required, but the game tends to be a little more physical in England. Which doesn’t tend to suit Mexican footballers.
Giovanni Dos Santos signed for Spurs a couple of years ago, flopped and was sent to Turkey on loan. Although he is back at Spurs this year and did play the other day, so many it’s too early to write him off as a failure. Unlike Guillermo Franco who played last season for West Ham and scored even fewer goals from more games than Borgetti. Needless to say, he’s not with them anymore.
Carlos Vela was a hot talent who was signed by Arsenal a couple of years ago. And has in two seasons scored just two league goals. He’s running out of time to prove himself. I have little faith in him doing that, I’m afraid. Like Franco, his partner for Mexico in the World Cup in South Africa, he’s so far proven to be consistent only at missing the target.
In the summer two more Mexicans went to England. Barrera went to West Ham, who frankly look terrible so far. Which doesn’t bode well for the former Pumas star. The biggest signing though was Javier Hernandez for Manchester United. He’s made a bright start for them, although he did earn a certain amount of ridicule for his centre circle prayer ritual last weekend. The English ‘don’t do god’.
Have I missed anyone out? There’s just one more that I can think of. And he signed today. Carlos Salcido has had a lot of success over the last few years in the Dutch League with PSV Eindhoven, but he’s now signed for Fulham. The London club are a small outfit, but have a half decent manager and a pretty decent squad. They got to the Europa League final last season.
I think Salcido is a fabulous player. There were rumours my own team, Liverpool, were going to sign him, and I’d have been happy if they had. He’s very much a complete player, and was in my opinion, Mexico’s best player at the World Cup. He has pace, strength, the skill to beat players, the ability to tackle and a great shot. He’ll run up and down the wing all day, and he definitely has a pair of cojones. If a Fulham fan should wander across this post, be rest assured you have a quality player.
*The criticism is fair, but the videos I’ve linked to shows they have had their moments of glory!