At this point, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Alexis Sanchez will be moving from Udinese to FC Barcelona. Of course, we're a Mexican football blog, and that's not really any of this website's concern. If you want to read more about that aspect of a potential transfer between Udinese and Barcelona, I recommend you head over to Barca Blaugranes and read the Serie A and La Liga transfer rumor streams over at SBNation.com. The point of this post is to discuss how this might affect the future of Jonathan dos Santos.
To even out the deal between Udinese and Barca for Sanchez, Barca will probably be sending over one or more of their young players who are immensely talented, but who will struggle for playing time at the Catalan club. Jonathan Soriano has been linked to the deal, as has Jeffren Suarez, but Jonathan dos Santos is also in the mix for a potential move from Barcelona to Udinese. In this writer's humble opinion, it would be a fantastic career move.
While Udinese is much more likely than Barcelona to offer dos Santos some playing time this season, he's still unlikely to be a first team regular right away. Fortunately for dos Santos, if he moves to Udinese, he will be getting some regular playing time at a high level this season. That's because Udinese has a partnership with Granada, recently promoted to La Liga where they can send their young players to get playing time and improve.
This year, the most notable player that Udinese sent to their Spanish affiliates was Jonathan Mensah, a 20 year old Ghanaian international central defender. Most believe that Mensah is a future star, but not yet ready for the big time. As a result, he was allowed to go play and improve his game at a level consistent with his current abilities, and he's going to be more ready to start in Serie A in the near future as a result. Udinese defender Christian Zapata could be on his way to a bigger club soon, at which point Mensah will be moved to the first team, more ready to step in than if he was just rotting in the reserves.
At central midfield, Udinese has a similar situation. Gohkan Inler and Kwadwo Asamoah are both star players, and they're both likely to move on to a club that can pay them bigger wages if Udinese doesn't secure Champions League football for a second straight season. At present, Udinese appear to be holding on to both players, but it could be only a matter of time before they leave.
Enter Jonathan dos Santos. If he's included in the deal for Alexis Sanchez, he could be loaned out to Granada next season, where he will likely start whenever he is healthy. This playing time at a high level with Udinese's partner club will prepare him to step into a starting central midfield role in the 2012-13 season, if one or both of Inler and Asamoah move on to greener pastures.
Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro are performing well as Mexico's starting central midfielders right now, but both players have a limited shelf life. Torrado is 32, while Castro is 30. This puts them in serious doubt for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Mexico needs dos Santos to start getting regular playing time and develop into a great player, because they're going to need him to be their starting central midfielder in three years time.
If this deal doesn't go down, Barcelona B is not a bad place for dos Santos to be. He should get better by playing games there, but if there isn't a future for him as a first team regular at Barcelona, a move to Udinese would be a better one for not only his future, but the future of the Mexican national team.
Note: This was originally published with an error. Granada have been promoted from the Segunda to La Liga, which was not originally mentioned in the post. That error has been corrected.