The price to pay for Mexican players
LOS ANGELES -- Jorge Vergara started his Friday with a fax in one hand and a calculator in the other. The owner of Chivas Rayadas of Guadalajara was finally cashing in, it would seem.
The sale of Marco Fabian de la Mora to German side Stuttgart was reportedly underway.
Yon de Luisa, president of America, and Alejandro Rodriguez, president of Tigres, weren't having the same fortune as Vergara. The prospect of exporting Raul Jimenez and Alan Pulido will be a longer, harder road to travel.
The prices have become the main obstacle, keeping Mexico's rising stars from proving their quality in the best leagues in the world. The numbers -- always unofficial -- indicate that America were asking $10 million for center forward Jimenez while Tigres were seeking $12 million for Pulido. Similar numbers were mentioned in the Fabian deal between Chivas and Stuttgart. Are these numbers really justified when talking about Mexican soccer players?
Let's put aside quality for a moment. Players like Jimenez, Pulido and Fabian appear to have the skills to compete in the best leagues in the world, but Mexican soccer doesn't seem to understand that the "fame" of Mexican players in Europe doesn't reach far enough to justify demanding so much money for them. The old notion that if Pulido, Jimenez or Fabian were Argentine or Brazilian they would sell at a much higher price is true. Mexican players have not won Europe over, and European clubs are reticent to make a large investment in a player who may not succeed.
I can understand the posture of Mexican teams looking to cushion their bottom line, but I am also certain that if more focus and greater effort were put into developing the lower categories, the output of quality players would rise and with it would the possibility of exporting and using them without so much pressure.
No doubt Mexican clubs want to sell players in the upper echelons of the international market, but they are offering talent that does not have enough appeal or clout in the most developed leagues in the world.
Mexican soccer finds itself in a vicious cycle. By not producing much, the little talent that emerges fetches a high price, and because there is such a dearth of talent in Europe, the reputation remains the same.
David Faitelson is based in Los Angeles and co-hosts "Nacion ESPN," ESPN Deportes' version of "SportsNation." Follow him on Twitter @Faitelson_ESPN.