Manuel Veth –
Hirving Lozano was recently selected to be our player to watch, for Pachuca’s must-win second leg CONCACAF Champions League semi-final against Dallas. The game against Dallas should have been the main focus for Lozano and Pachuca.
Instead, however, Lozano took away the main attention from the match when in an interview he stated that he was ready to leave Liga MX for Europe. “I feel good, ready and prepared to get better and to play in a more competitive [league],” Lozano told Nacion ESPN. “People have told me that I have the possibility of going to play in a better stronger league and hopefully I can improve my football,” he added.
The speedy winger has just returned from a brutal injury sustained in a Liga MX game against Tijuana. His absence has certainly hurt Pachuca, who lost the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League against Dallas and also fell to Querétaro in the Liga MX.
Hirving Lozano, who is popularly referred to by his nickname Chucky, then returned on April 1, just in time for Pachuca’s Liga MX game against Puebla. The swift winger, however, showed signs that he still needed time to get back to top form. His club was held to a 0-0 draw by Puebla, and Lozano missed a crucial penalty that could have sealed the victory for Pachuca.
Regardless, it is expected that Hirving Lozano will play a crucial role in Pachuca’s push to reach the final of the CONCACAF Champions League, and to finish the Clausura in a top spot—Pachuca are currently fifth—in order to gain a favourable draw in the Liguilla.
Hirving Lozano is ready to make the jump to Europe
Top performances should also help with Lozano’s desire to move to a stronger league. In the past, Mexican talent have found the jump to Europe difficult. Some of it has to do with the different style of football that is played in Europe.
Liga MX’s emphasis on attacking football makes it one of the most exciting leagues in the world to watch. At the same time, the recent example of Marco Fabián, who took six months to acclimatize to life in the Bundesliga, showed that the top European leagues are still ahead of the Liga MX in terms of athleticism.
This could, however, be one of Lozano’s biggest advantages over other Mexican players who have made the jump over to Europe. The winger is an absolute speedster who, with his pace, can overwhelm defensive lines.
His preferred position is on the left side of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 where he can use his right foot to cut in from the wing to the centre of the park. In fact, his powerful shot and his ability to cut in from the left side have drawn comparisons to Bayern München’s Arjen Robben.
Lozano first reached worldwide acclaim when he was named as one of the most exciting young players in the world by the Spanish magazine Don Balón in 2015. Since then he has become a regular for Mexico’s national team, and the Futbolgrad Network was in attendance when he scored his first goal for his country in a 3-0 victory over Canada at BC Place in Vancouver.
Pachuca have a development agreement with Celta Vigo
With all this in mind, it is no surprise that Lozano has attracted interest from clubs abroad. His club’s president, Jesús Martinez, has admitted that Pachuca have already received several offers, including from Ajax Amsterdam, Benfica, and PSV Eindhoven. His agent, in the meantime, has suggested that a third club has also made a bid.
Pachuca’s president, however, seems to favour a deal with the Spanish club, Celta Vigo, with whom Pachuca have a development agreement in place: “They are one of the teams that attract us the most. There are lots of other teams, and he has several offers, but I believe that they (Celta) are the team, who suit us as much as the player. It would be the ideal club for him.”
Lozano has already played over 100 games in Mexico, and the agent, the player, and his club believe that he must move on in order to fulfil his potential. Whether La Liga, and Celta Vigo in particular, will be the league where Lozano can truly develop into a recognized star, however, remains to be seen.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist, and podcaster for WorldFootballIndex.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”, which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.