Jesús ”Tecatito” Corona has earned his long-awaited move to Europe through quality showings for both club and country. The Monterrey winger has shown an ability to play a number of different positions in various lineups and recently assumed a leadership role with Mexico’s U-20 squad during the World Cup in Turkey. FC Twente finally wrapped up the deal to get their man after months of negotiations with the Mexican club.
FC Twente are an above average side in the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, which is a competitive league under the upper echelon of the the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish Liga, Italian Serie A, or French Ligue 1. The team finished 2nd in 2010-11 to earn a Champions League place, 6th in 2011-12 to book a ticket to the Europa League, and ended the season in 2012-13 sitting in 6th place but missing out on European competition.
In the 2011-2012 European campaign, Twente was knocked out before the group stage of the Champions League by Portugese side Benfica. Rather than get disheartened, the team went on to win their group in the second-tier Europa League and beat Romanian side Steaua Bucuresti before falling to Schalke 04 in the round of 16.
In the 2012-2013 qualification for the Europa League proper, Twente breezed past an Andorran, a Finnish, and a Czech team. The club battled Bursapor from Turkey to make the group stage but ultimately finished bottom of a group from Hannover (Germany), Levante (Spain), and Helsingborg (Sweden).
While this recent European record may not sound very impressive, I think this is the ideal type of club for the young Mexican attacker to join. The team is good enough to compete on multiple fronts but not too good for Corona to feature in.
The team from Enschede has been playing somewhat of a 4-1-4-1 / 4-3-3 with advanced wide midfielders or deep wide forwards depending on particular matches. This wide role, whichever of the two specific formations the team plays, suits Corona perfectly. He has excelled in this advanced wide position in limited minutes with Monterrey in Liga MX, Concacaf Champions League, and the Club World Cup, and he could very well make the grade in Holland by the end of the season.
There are three players ahead of Tecatito in the squad right now. Quincy Promes is a natural midfielder who started all four matches in this young season. Joshua John, who usually played attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 with FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark last season, has started twice and came on as a second half substitute twice for Twente. Serbian forward Dusan Tadic has 3 goals and 4 assists in 3 games played so far this season and looks to be a lock to start.
If Corona isn’t deemed ready for the senior team, FC Twente could opt to play him with their reserve side in the Eerste Divisie (the second division of Dutch football). Most players for Jong FC Twente hover on either side of Corona’s 20 years of age and this assignment could provide a useful adjustment period to European football for the young Mexican.
In between those two options is the possibility of going on loan to a low-table team in the Eredivisie. This would allow Corona to become accustomed to the style of soccer in the league and play at an intermediate level. However, this would mean that Twente would not have as much say over Tecatito’s development as they might want.
Senior Mexican internationals Carlos Salcido, Francisco “Maza” Rodríguez, and Héctor Moreno have all enjoyed success playing club football in the Netherlands. Chelsea youngster Ulises Dávila rarely featured during a loan spell in the Eredivisie two seasons ago.
The 5 million dollar deal to take Tecatito across the Atlantic is more than the $2.7 million Chelsea paid to purchase Ulises Dávila in 2011 but less than either Diego Reyes or Héctor Herrera, who are both more established players with club and country, cost FC Porto earlier this summer. The price tag is similar to the deal that took Héctor Moreno from Pumas to AZ Alkmaar in 2008 and at the time the central defender was just shy of his 20th birthday.
While $5 million isn’t chump change, it is not unreasonable for a player with the potential Corona possesses. It will be important to see which development track Twente put the young winger on while the season is still in an early stage. Whether he finds success immediately or bides his time like Dávila, the move to FC Twente shows that Jesús Corona has the ambition to leave the comfort of Mexico, even demanding the European transfer, and to challenge himself to improve his game.