Various news outlets are reporting that Tigres is close to signing Mexico international and Eintracht Frankfurt defender Carlos Salcedo. The news is set to be a great move for Tigres but a terrible one for the Mexico National Team, who will now have one of their top defenders and key players during the 2018 World Cup not playing in one of the top leagues in Europe. This is not a new phenomenon at all and shows that Tigres has mostly been a hurdle for the national team, as it constantly repatriates Mexican talent from Europe.
Let me start off by saying I know that players are free do with their lives what they see fit, and Tigres’s loyalty is first and foremost to itself and not the Mexico National Team. That being said, Mexican football is tied to the national team. It’s the prime money maker for the federation, and thus it’s in the best interest of the club’s owners and the league for the national team to be successful. Tigres for the most part has been hurdle for the national team. If Salcedo signs with Tigres, he would be the fifth Mexican player they have brought back from Europe. In the past, they have been responsible for bringing back Francisco “Kikin” Fonseca, Omar Bravo, Carlos Salcido and Javier Aquino.
Of all of them, only Salcido looked on his way out after having a successful spell in Europe. Both Fonseca and Bravo were in the middle of spells, and while they weren’t doing well in Europe, they were young players fighting for a spot. Ultimately, they would have perhaps benefited from remaining in Europe and not coming back to Mexico, especially playing in a position (forwards) that the Mexico National Team lacks in depth. Meanwhile, Aquino has had a successful career in Tigres but not so much with the national team.
In the case of Salcedo, he is a player that has been a starter for Eintracht Frankfurt when not injured. Yes, injuries have derailed his career at times, but he was one of the top Bundesliga defenders when healthy and a starter. That success translated to a solid World Cup, so going from a Bundesliga team where you are a starter to a Liga MX team is a huge step back.
Coupled with Tigres’s willingness to bring back Mexican players from Europe is the fact that they have truly underachieved at developing young players. Monterrey is one of the biggest cities in Mexico and an economic hub, but in in terms of producing youth players, Tigres’s record is subpar. Rayados, the other team in the city, has recently turned things around, producing some top Mexican prospects like Cesar Montes, Carlos Rodriguez, Daniel Lajud, and even Jonathan Gonzalez. Currently, only Rafael Duran looks to make an impact, and he is nowhere near as impactful as the young Mexican players at rivals Rayados.
In between all of this, Tigres have also made it a habit to buy as many foreign players as they can, making it part of their business model to buy young players and make money loaning them out to other South American teams. As such, the situation for youth players is a tough one, as they face a first team that is filled with veteran South American talent and now national team players they have either brought back from Europe or from other Mexican teams.
At the end, while fans constantly moan about the national team coach and all the “molero” friendlies, having less talent in Europe is the bigger problem. Carlos Salcedo moving back to Mexico in his prime will have a greater negative effect than playing a friendly in Dallas or Atlanta. A lot of Tigres fans (like Chivas, America and other Liga MX fans) say they don’t care about the national team, but they will immediately forget that the next time El Tri takes a stumble. This is a big reason why these stumbles happen in the first place. They complain but fail to diagnose the reason why the national team fails to meet their expectations time and time again.