Rangers may still be waiting to see what kind of return they get from their hefty summer investment in the Mexican market.
But, while supporters remain to be convinced of the merits of Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera on the pitch, manager Pedro Caixinha has no doubt the Ibrox club’s latest connection with Mexican football could deliver rich dividends off the pitch.
Jose Luis Higuera, the chief executive of Club Deportivo Guadalajara – widely known by their nickname Chivas (Goats) – was in Glasgow this week for informal discussions with Caixinha and members of the Rangers board.
The possibility of a formal partnership between the clubs was on the agenda. The relationship stems from the summer move of midfielder Pena from Chivas to Rangers.
Caixinha, who coached in Mexico at Celtic’s partner club Santos Laguna, also tapped into his links with the country by signing striker Herrera from Pumas UNAM.
Chivas, owned by billionaire businessman and film producer Jorge Vergara through his Omnilife marketing company, want to expand their horizons and build on a recent survey which rated them as one of the most popular clubs in the world in terms of the ratio of their support to their country’s population. According to the findings, 44.2 per cent of Mexicans identify with Chivas.
It remains to be seen what advantages this could bring to Rangers but Caixinha believes they could be wide-ranging.
“It’s a good chance for a win-win relationship for both clubs,” he said. “Chivas and the majority of Mexican clubs are trying to expand. Chivas is the biggest club in Mexico and the fan base is something like 40 million. They are a huge club in Mexico and they spread it to the USA and are also trying to buy some clubs in South America but they want to extend the connections in Europe.
“They might be looking for us to do it and it will be a very good chance for us to do it. It would bring a lot of benefits to us. Knowledge, young players moving from one side to the other and maybe first-team players as well and also exchange trips for coaches. There are so many opportunities.
“They are very strong in the marketing area because they work(in a similar way to) the USA so we can learn from each other. Chivas has one big company at its back, Omnilife. There is a huge volume of money getting inside and their stadium has the same name.
“The stadium is amazing, a 50,000 stadium. They also want to build a new training facility with 12 pitches, so it is going to be a massive, state-of-the-art facility.
“They are visiting various facilities in Europe and around the world because they want to build with the best there is in the market.
“They also have a fantastic annual international youth tournament and the presence of Rangers in that tournament – playing against the best teams in the world – could be important. It’s still only one visit from their CEO, who I know, and one discussion and I’m not the one who will make the decision. The board will do that but I put the two parties in contact. Their chief executive knows and respects the story of Rangers and now we have direct contact.”
As Rangers prepare to return to action after the international break with tomorrow’s home Premiership game against Dundee, Caixinha has addressed criticism of his training methods from striker Michael O’Halloran. Currently on loan at St Johnstone, where he has scored four goals in their first four league matches of the season, O’Halloran claimed Caixinha’s sessions were undemanding.
“Each coach has their own way to work,” said Caixinha. “I believe in my methodology 100 per cent. I respect the opinion from Michael and I wish him all the best.”
Caixinha previously described O’Halloran as “not my type of player” and will not be moved from that view.
“Look, there are some players who fit with different clubs and different approaches, different managers as well,” he added. “I say it again, we need those different types of players to perform the game we want from our team. That’s all.”