With the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic still reverberating, this summer's transfer market promises to be far from normal. Most leagues have extended their transfer period, and clubs' shortfalls means that justifying every expenditure is now more of a priority. But despite the global situation slowing the market, it's an important summer for Mexico internationals in Europe, following a disappointing season for them overall.
For 2020-21 to be brighter than 2019-20 was -- but for a couple of notable exceptions expanded upon below -- players may have to consider moving on if possible, as many haven't gotten the minutes they would've hoped for in the past 12 months.
There's already been some movement from Mexico to Europe, with left-back Gerardo Arteaga moving from Santos Laguna to Genk, in a move first reported by ESPN, and midfielder Eugenio Pizzuto leaving Pachuca on a free transfer for Lille. There is the potential for more, too, both within Europe and from Liga MX across the Atlantic Ocean.
We break down the possible transfers and assess their likelihood.
Raul Jimenez | 29 | Forward | Wolves
Form: One of the hottest strikers in Europe in the past couple of years, Jimenez netted 27 times across all competitions this season. He has become a vital cog in Nuno Espirito Santo's well-oiled Wolves team and has won widespread praise not just for his goals but also his work off the ball, his ability to bring others into play and his attitude.
Linked with: Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid -- in other words, big clubs. The debate about whether he should leave Wolves and seek out Champions League football has been rampant in Mexico, and that will not stop now that there will be no European football on offer at Molineux next season.
Predicted outcome: Taking into account the lack of clubs with the finances needed to buy Jimenez -- up to €100 million, according to some likely optimistic reports -- and the fact that very few of those clubs need a starting striker, it's not a guarantee that the Mexican moves on. And given how new father Jimenez seems to be happy at Wolves along with the fact that he's already played at a big club like Atletico Madrid, the balance tilts slightly toward the striker staying put. At present, Juve would be the most natural destination if he was to leave England's West Midlands.
Hirving Lozano | 25 | Midfielder | Napoli
Form: In an ideal world for Mexico fans, Lozano would have established himself in Serie A in the 2019-20 season after signing for a club-record fee (reported to be €40m) last summer. To say that hasn't happened is an understatement. Instead, he's been labeled as a flop in Italy, with only two Serie A starts in 2020 and just four goals all season. In the player's defense, the switch from Carlo Ancelotti to Gennaro Gattuso on the Napoli bench last December didn't help in terms of playing style. Lozano just didn't seem to be compatible with Gattuso's philosophy or formation, and the winger was even kicked out of training in June.
Linked with: It very much feels like Lozano is being offered around in the hope that a club bites. His agent, Mino Raiola, will be keen to find a club in which "Chucky" is a guaranteed starter, and there are reports that possible options include Everton -- to link up with Ancelotti once again -- Parma, Sevilla and Valencia, as well as a loan to Genoa.
Predicted outcome: He stays at Napoli, even if it isn't ideal. The relationship between Lozano and Gattuso did thaw toward the end of the season, with the Italian using the former Pachuca player as an impact sub. In the event that no club stumps up a fee comparable to what Napoli paid PSV Eindhoven last summer, Lozano would remain and fight for his place. And let's not forget that Napoli forwards Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens are both 33 now. Maybe, just maybe, the Mexico City native will come out the other side of this nasty experience a more rounded and defensively able player after another year under Gattuso.
Hector Herrera | 30 | Midfielder | Atletico Madrid
Form: The former Pachuca player's first season with Atletico Madrid hasn't been what he would've hoped for after moving on a free transfer from Porto last summer. Competition for a spot in Diego Simeone's midfield is stiff, as the Argentine has been stressing all season. Add to that an untimely injury earlier this year, plus the COVID-19 crisis, and it's easy to see why Herrera started only 12 matches in La Liga this term.
Linked with: West Ham United.
Predicted outcome: Herrera is very unlikely to move on, ESPN has learned. The player has a contract until 2022 and is on record saying that as frustrating as the situation is, he wants to become an important player for Atleti. The club is also happy with Herrera, with the injury in February disrupting the process of integrating him fully into the starting XI. The feeling is that he is exactly where he needs to be and just needs a little more luck to stay free of injuries next season.
Jesus Corona | 27 | Midfielder | Porto
Form: Corona's achievements might not have made as many waves as Jimenez, but 11 assists and four goals in league play for Porto were a positive return for the winger in arguably his best season in Europe since leaving Monterrey in 2015. The player has also shown versatility as an attacking right-back at times this past season.
Linked with: Reports have linked the 27-year-old with Internazionale, Sevilla, AS Roma, Everton, Valencia and Schalke 044. A source told ESPN that "there is a lot of interest" in Corona, but that the long window -- the Premier League and La Liga windows don't close until Oct. 5 -- and economic circumstances mean that clubs are looking to sell before purchasing.
Predicted outcome: A really positive move is likely to come this summer, with Sevilla or Inter fitting the bill of what Corona's next step should look like. His agent is on record saying that the buyout clause in Corona's contract -- which runs out in 2022 -- is a fairly affordable €30m, and this summer would appear to be the perfect time for "Tecatito" to move after proving himself in his five years in Portugal.
Diego Lainez | 20 | Midfielder | Real Betis
Form: Lainez has shown flashes but hasn't made an impact for Betis to anywhere near the degree he would've liked. The 20-year-old played fewer minutes in La Liga in the 2019-20 season than he did in the previous one, managing two shots on goal all campaign and finishing up without a goal or assist.
Linked with: Lyon.
Predicted outcome: Lainez appears set to stay at Betis, at least for the preseason, which started on Monday. With new coach Manuel Pellegrini installed, reports from Spain suggest the Chilean wants Lainez to remain. That could change between now and Oct. 5, with the player wanting and needing more minutes this upcoming season to fuel a career that is in danger of stalling.
Nestor Araujo | 28 | Defender | Celta Vigo
Form: The 28-year-old had a solid season starting for a team that fought until the last game of the season to remain in the Spanish topflight. Araujo has firmly established himself in Europe in the past two seasons and shown he is a La Liga-quality center-back.
Linked with: The Guadalajara native has been linked so far this summer with Valencia and Monterrey, with Araujo the possible solution at Rayados should Cesar Montes leave for Europe.
Predicted outcome: Araujo's contract runs until 2023, meaning there's no immediate need for Celta to sell. Given the relative tranquility of the market compared to most summers and the likelihood of lower transfer fees, it's easier to see Araujo sticking put rather than leaving.
Jose Juan Macias | 20 | Forward | Chivas
Form: The first few games of the Liga MX season haven't been great for Macias, with a missed penalty and zero goals, but the 20-year-old has netted every 165 minutes in Liga MX since his debut three years ago. It's not a bad ratio for a young player that is already looking like a fixture in Gerardo Martino's Mexico squads.
Predicted outcome: Macias will be playing in Europe soon enough. Chivas have given the striker their word that they will sell him at a reasonable price, and it appears Real Sociedad is both seriously interested and would be a solid landing spot. However, Chivas just got rid of coach Luis Fernando Tena and are struggling in Liga MX and there is media pressure to keep Macias at least until the winter. Still, it's more of a question of when and where than if with Macias.
Cesar Montes | 23 | Defender | Monterrey
Form: Since Antonio Mohamed retook the helm at Monterrey last October, Montes has hit the kind of form to suggest he can be a regular starter for Mexico at center-back. However, he is currently injured and will be out for the next couple of weeks, which likely means a transfer isn't imminent.
Linked with: Valencia, Wolves, Sevilla.
Predicted outcome: Inter Miami forward Rodolfo Pizarro found out how hard it can be to maneuver a move away from Monterrey earlier this year, and none of Montes, Jonathan Gonzalez or Carlos Rodriguez will be allowed to leave cheaply -- Rayados aren't a selling club. But Montes now has a Spanish agent and is on record saying he'd like to play in Europe and that Valencia has approached his people. A move can't be ruled out, but it's going to take a big financial investment from a European club.