Given that we are in a World Cup year and we are in the final 24 hours of the winter transfer window, there are several players who have or are about to make loan moves or be sold to other teams. One of the primary reasons for many of these switches is to get playing time in order to be considered for selection for their respective national teams. One of these players is Mexican international Andrés Guardado who completed a six-month loan move from La Liga side Valencia CF to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
Guardado’s loan move also includes an option for Leverkusen to acquire Guardado for a set fee during the summer transfer window as they add to their team for the second half of the league season and for the Champions League Round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The loan move for Guardado is a good one for him as he is moving from a team languishing in the middle to the bottom half of the league to a team currently second in their league. Along those same lines, Guardado will be spending the next six months with a team who currently has a better atmosphere around it compared to the one he’s leaving.
The loan move to Leverkusen can only help Guardado’s chances of being a part of the 23-man squad that México coach Miguel Herrera will be bringing to the 2014 World Cup. Like Valencia as a club, Guardado’s play has seen some up and downs given injuries and the numerous coaching changes which saw him moved from being a left-sided midfielder to being a left fullback. Given this versatility, Guardado is certain to see significant playing time and in turn improve his chances at being named to the ‘El Tri’ squad for the World Cup.
Now some might claim that Guardado — given he once again was a regular starter once Juan Antonio Pizzi took over as Valencia coach — was going to be a likely inclusion in Herrera’s squad. While it could have been the case, the fact is that given how Valencia have been consistently inconsistent as a team, Guardado’s play could have suffered. By playing with Leverkusen here for the second half of the season, Guardado will now be playing with a team where the sole focus will be on the sporting side and not the economic side as well.
As for what he can showcase for the Mexican National Team, Guardado can prove and fortify his spot on the team by staying healthy, playing well and showing he can play well in several positions on the field. In Herrera’s preferred 3-5-2 formation, Guardado would most likely be deployed as either the left wing back or as the left-sided attacking midfielder, two positions that suit him well.
Even though his chances to go to Brazil where good to begin with, the fact that Guardado will be playing with Bayer Leverkusen for the rest of the season will do him good and help him secure a spot on the 23-man squad that will represent México at the World Cup.