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Who will be the next Rafa Marquez?


Enjoy Marquez while you still can

 By Tom Marshall

Vela, Hernandez, Lozano linked with moves as Mexico stars consider future

After Sunday's World Cup qualifying draw with the United States, Mexico's national team arrives in Russia on Tuesday evening to prepare for its Confederations Cup opener against Portugal on Sunday in Kazan.

The tournament is a key test for Juan Carlos Osorio's side on the road to Russia 2018, but an ongoing issue is that a significant number of players in the 23-man squad are also facing an uncertain future at the club level, with contracts running down and other situations, meaning moves are a distinct possibility.

Hector Moreno has signed for Roma and several of his international teammates could also be switching clubs. Here's a rundown:

Carlos Vela

The Real Sociedad forward has only one year left on his contract at Real Sociedad, and Spanish media outlet Mundo Deportivo has suggested that the club would be willing to let the Mexican leave if a good offer comes in.

Vela has long been linked with a move to Major League Soccer, but Metro has also reported that Ligue 1 outfit Marseille is keen on the forward, an interest that a source also confirmed to ESPN FC. Eurosport France also ran a story last week indicating the French giant -- currently lagging behind Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco -- is set to seal two important signings this offseason.

All of which means that if Vela and Real Sociedad are both open to a move, there won't be a shortage of clubs interested, especially the way he's playing at present with Mexico..

Javier Hernandez

Not an offseason goes by without a new wave of rumors linking Hernandez with clubs all over the globe. This one is no different. The twist this time around, however, is that the 29-year-old Bayer Leverkusen striker is in a situation that in many ways lends itself to a move.

Like Vela, with whom he shares an agent, Hernandez has only a year left on his contract. And now that Leverkusen has missed out on Champions League football next season, it could be the right moment to leave.

Chicharito is proven in the Premier League and with clubs flush with money from TV deals, there would almost certainly be interest, although MLS would surely be keen if the striker is to leave Leverkusen. So far, Lyon, Sevilla and Everton have been mentioned.

The downside would be that with the World Cup coming up in 12 months, moving clubs could represent a risk for a player that has never gone into the tournament as an automatic starter for Mexico.

Would Javier Hernandez risk leaving Bayer Leverkusen 12 months ahead of a World Cup?

Hirving Lozano

The Manchester City link resurfaced this week and Pachuca is ready to sell this summer, but the clubs that appear to be most likely to sign Lozano are Benfica, PSV, Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad. The 21-year-old winger is set to be Mexico's next Europe-based export.

Jurgen Damm
West Ham are rumored to be interested in the flying 24-year-old, who is keen to play on the other side of the pond. The problem for Damm is that Tigres signed him for a lot of money only two years ago and will want to recoup that outlay.

Guillermo Ochoa

Granada was relegated from La Liga last season, meaning Ochoa's loan spell at the club is very much over. The 31-year-old still belongs to Malaga, but Celta Vigo has been linked, as well as Brazilian outfit Flamengo. The goalkeeper is expected to stay in Europe.

Carlos Salcedo

The 23-year-old defender said last week that he knows what his future will be, but can't yet announce it. Salcedo still belongs to Chivas after his loan with Fiorentina expired and ESPN Mexico reported on Tuesday that Marco Fabian's Eintracht Frankfurt is a strong option.

Miguel Layun

The full-back hasn't done too much wrong at Porto, but simply wasn't to the liking of Nuno Espiritu Santo, who started the 28-year-old in just three league games in 2017. It has yet to be seen whether new Porto coach Sergio Conceicao will give Layun more of a chance to impress, or if the former Club America player will have to look elsewhere.

Marca reports that Sevilla may be circling, and Scottish giants Rangers have also been mentioned as a possible destination.

Diego Reyes
Mexico's center-back had an excellent season on loan at Espanyol, but the Spanish club has yet to come to an agreement on a deal to sign him permanently. Bayer Leverkusen is also interested, according to AS, while a good performance in the Confederations Cup could open more doors.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.


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