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Arsenal transfer target Hector Herrera: Ten facts about the Mexican midfielder who has already tasted glory in England

PUBLISHED: 17:06 09 January 2019

Brazil's Marcelo in action with Mexico's Israel Sabdi Jimenez Nanez (centre) and Hector Herrera Rubio (left). PA

Brazil's Marcelo in action with Mexico's Israel Sabdi Jimenez Nanez (centre) and Hector Herrera Rubio (left). PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal are tracking Hector Herrera. Read on for ten facts about the player who has already tasted glory in England.

Hector Herrera, FC Porto. PAHector Herrera, FC Porto. PA

1) He is a very loyal player

At the age of 28, Herrera has spent a nearly a decade in professional football and it is surprising to see that he has on made a single transfer since his professional debut. The Mexican signed his first professional contract with Liga MX side Pachuca in 2010 and in 2013 made a huge switch to Porto where he has remained ever since.

2) He has unusual nicknames

As a youth player in Mexico, Herrera earned the nicknames ‘Zorro’ and ‘Zorillo’ meaning ‘fox’ and ‘skunk’. Despite not being the most complimentary nicknames at first glance, they came about due to his apparent astuteness on the ball and his cunning style of play.

3) He has already tasted glory in England

Herrera was one of the stars of the Mexican football team who shocked the world by winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics. They defeated an impressive Brazil side 2-1 with the likes of Neymar, Thiago Silva, Oscar and Hulk just a few of the big names on the losing side.

4) He became the most expensive Mexican player

In 2013 Herrera made his big move to Europe signing for Portuguese giants Porto for €8 million. At the time it made Herrera the most expensive Mexican player of all time even topping the fee Manchester United paid for Javier Hernandez. He was named the club’s ‘Player of the Year’ for the 2014-15 season and became the permanent captain later in 2015.

5) Tony Blair’s son enabled his record move to Porto

Nicholas Blair, son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, was the agent who helped complete Herrera’s move from Pachuca to Porto. Blair noticed Herrera’s performances at the London Olympics and followed him up to Pachuca eventually initiating the move which also kick-started Blair’s career as an agent.

6) He has been compared to Argentina legend Juan Román Riquelme

Due to his tactfulness and agility on the ball as well as a quiet demeanour and sense of class, Herrera has been likened in the past to Argentina and Boca Juniors legend Juan Roman Riquelme. Having retired in 2014, Riquelme was considered one of the most talented of his generation in Argentina where he was known for his abilities as an offensive and defensive midfielder.

7) He has an unwanted record in the Champions League

On his Champions League debut in October 2013, Herrera set an unwanted record of the quickest dismissal via two yellow cards in the tournament. A home tie against Zenit St. Petersburg, Herrera was booked for bringing down former Porto player Hulk and was then shown another yellow card for standing in front of the ball. The incident saw him sent off inside just six minutes and Porto went on to lose the game 1-0.

8) He has become a stalwart for Mexico

Mexico’s success in the 2012 Olympics saw Herrera earn his first call up to the national side. He would go on to appear in every game for Mexico in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and has currently earned 70 caps scoring five goals.

9) His partner urged him to give up playing football

Despite Herrera’s successes in the sport, he came very close to never even becoming a footballer. Before he signed for Pachuca in 2010, Herrera had little money and had a pregnant partner to care for. With such poor wages in the lower divisions of the Mexican league, his partner urged him to give up his footballing dream and get a normal job. Herrera knew he couldn’t give up and was soon able to sign his first professional contract with Pachuca and has never looked back.

10) His versatility could help bolster Arsenal in midfield

Herrera can be described as a complete midfielder and can be an asset to his side in both penalty areas. He has an eye for an attacking forward pass and is not afraid to take a shot on from distance but is also not afraid of a tackle when it comes to his defensive duties. With Emery looking to sign players who can add strength and depth to his squad, Herrera will certainly be a player he has a close eye on.

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