Mexico (National Football)

Pablo Barrera and Efrain Juarez Prepare For European Migration

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27:  Gabriel Heinze of Argentina falls under the challenge of Efrain Juarez of Mexico during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
StingerCContributor IJuly 13, 2010

In the heels of two of the better performances for El Tri at this last World Cup in South Africa, Pablo Barrera and Efrain Juarez have attracted attention from various European clubs. 

Both players belong to the same team in Mexico, Pumas de la UNAM, and were standouts for Javier Aguirre's side. 

Barrera, a natural winger who can play on either side, became one of Mexico's super subs, bringing pace, ball control and creativity when the team needed it the most.  Juarez was one of the defensive stalwarts of the team at defensive midfield. His constant energy, ball winning, and distribution made him an invaluable part of Aguirre's strategy. 

Barrera attracted interest from Celtic, Everton, Catania, and Lazio. However, in the end, it came down to a bidding war between Barcelona's Espanyol and London's West Ham United. 

According to UNAM's president Mario Trejo, West Ham has so far made the better offer at $6 million (£3 million).  The contract is for three years, with a fourth year optional. The deal is, however, contingent on Barrera obtaining an English work permit. 

Juarez received serious interest from both Barcelona and Celtic. Juarez, however, seems to have rejected a move towards Barcelona, where he briefly played for their developmental squad after being a member of the Mexican squad that won the 2005 Under-17 world cup in Peru. 

Juarez' apparent rejection of his former club was because Pep Guardiola wanted him to play as a defender while Juarez prefers to play in the midfield. That has left Glasgow's Celtic as the front runner for his services.  

Juarez apparently did not travel with Pumas UNAM in order to finalize the deal, which is also believed to be worth around $6 Million (£3 million).   

This is an exiting time for Mexican football, as the fruits of a somewhat successful world cup have prompted the move of more of its players to top European leagues. 

These two moves come a short while after Mexico's biggest transfer ever, that of another one of El Tri top World Cup performers, Javier Hernandez. 

Hernandez finalized a $16 million (£8 million) move to Manchester United this past April. Mexican fans are filled with expectations as these three young players move to Europe to hopefully become top players that will help Mexico's chances in the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil.

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