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Chelsea to sign Mexican Ulises Davila

August 26, 2011

Why Chelsea’s latest prospect Ulises Davila is no little pea, yet…

In the next few days Chelsea seem certain to sign 20-year-old Mexican midfielder Ulises Davila from Chivas de Guadalajara for a fee of around £1.75 million.

Although a deal has yet to be signed, Chivas president Jorge Vergara has encouraged the Chelsea bid and said that his club will not stand in the way of any player looking to make their dream move to Europe.

So who is Ulises Davila? And what can Chelsea fans expect of him?

First of all, they should be wary of the hype surrounding a player who remains unproven at senior club level.

Since the success of Javier Hernandez at Manchester United last season, the English press now describes every Mexican player linked with a move to Europe as “the new Chicharito”, regardless of their position or style of play.

Let’s be clear: Chelsea are buying potential in the form of Davila; they are not signing a ready-made star who will adapt to English football as quickly as Hernandez did at Old Trafford.

For one thing, Davila won’t even be at Chelsea this season. He will be loaned out to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem on a one-year deal in order to secure a work permit and gain some first team experience.

Furthermore, when Hernandez signed for United he had already established himself in the Chivas side over the course of the season, scoring regularly at club level. By contrast Davila has never started a competetive match for the club. In 15 appearances as a substitute he has managed a total of just 341 minutes playing time.

With exorbitant prices being paid for homegrown talent, British clubs are understandably looking for greater value in the Mexican market. Last month Liverpool signed 17-year-old Marco Bueno from Pachuca, while Tottenham took Antonio Pedroza Whitham on trial before realising he wasn’t up to scratch and leaving him to sign for Crystal Palace.

There is a danger that these players are making the move to Europe at far too young an age. How much playing time can they possibly hope to get? They would be better off establishing themselves in Mexico first and then moving once they have the maturity to adapt successfully to life in Europe.

Hernandez aside, very few Mexican players have adapted well to English football. Both the English lifestyle and the more physical style of football are very different from what Mexicans are accustomed to.

Having made the move alongside his entire family, Hernandez has been the exception in England.

How often have other undeniably talented Mexicans such as Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos been able to reproduce their international form for club teams Arsenal and Tottenham?

The fact that both are on the move this summer, along with Fulham’s Carlos Salcido, should provide the answer.

That said, this does not mean Davila doesn’t have the potential to one day force his way into the Chelsea side.

Like Chelsea’s other new signing, Juan Mata, Davila is a skillful attacking midfielder who can play across the line or up front behind the main striker. He will take players on, is unafraid to shoot from distance, and has also been known to score with his head.

Davila was a stand-out performer in the under-20 World Cup in Colombia in August and scored in Mexico’s 3-1 win over France in the third place playoff.

He has graduated from Chivas’ acclaimed youth academy which also produced both Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela.

The Guadalajara club’s policy to only field Mexican players is now paying off, with the youth system producing a host of talented players.

This investment in young Mexicans was further vindicated by El Tri’s triumph in July’s under 17-World Cup, the second time the country has won the competition in 6 years.

Moreover, only last month Chivas fielded a young team who more than held their own against Spanish and European champions Barcelona in a pre-season friendly.

After falling a goal behind Chivas romped home to an unlikely 4-1 victory against the best of Barcelona’s La Masia academy and a host of senior World Cup and Champions League winners.

Although Davila played no part in the match, it provided ample evidence that young Mexicans have the potential to compete against Europe’s best.

For an example of Davila’s ability, check out this goal he scored back in June for Mexico’s under-20 side:

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 21:15

    Francisco Rodríguez, who plays for Stuttgart at the Bundesliga, and Carlos Salcido, are former players from the Guadalajara youth academy as well.

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