If you've been paying attention to our Gold Rush series, you can probably tell it's been heavy on the Mexican international side. There's a perfectly logical (and probably obvious) reason for this. Atlanta is a huge market and any time the Mexico national team visits the capital they draw record numbers. Even when the USA and Mexico played in the Georgia Dome on the same day last year in the Gold Cup it was Green, Red, and White dominating the stands.
It only makes sense for Atlanta United to try and bring in a name recognizable to the Mexico National Team fan base.
Some of our Gold Rush candidates are easily attainable and a few have been a little far-fetched. Jesus "Tecatito" Corona firmly falls into the latter category. While he may not be a household name in the United States, he's probably the brightest young Mexican talent in the entire world currently. Sure, Chicharito is putting up great numbers in Germany and will soon break the national team's all-time scoring record, but Tecatito is their golden boy.
At 23 years of age, Tecatito is just now approaching his prime years and is destined to become one of the best Mexican players ever if he lives up to his massive potential.
Aside from the obvious boost in interest from the Latin-American market, signing Jesus Corona is great business because he's an exciting soccer player. He's the type of player that's worth the price of admission for the casual fan, not just a face for a particular demographic to rally behind. His dynamic abilities on the ball leave anyone who watches him blown away.
His 1v1 skills on the wing will entertain the crowd and leave them "Ooh'ing" and "Ahh'ing". These are the types of players that make highlight reels on a regular basis. That type of exposure can only be good for the team he plays for.
When splashing the cash on a Designated Player, you're looking for an impact player in return. On that will provide results on the field as well as drive interest off of it. Having a dynamic and young star in the fold would be huge for MLS and Atlanta United.
Even with all of Tecatito's undeniable skills, he still plays a position that Darren Eales has stated several times he isn't focusing on for DP slots. "The Spine" of the team has been the go-to phrase any time the subject of potential DPs are brought up to the Atlanta United president. He's searching for strikers, center midfielders, and *gulp* central defenders. Corona does not fit this bill at all. He is a skillful winger.
While FC Dallas's Fabian Castillo has done all he can to lift the stigma against wingers not being impact players, that's about the only evidence that supports the theory. Having skillful wingers who can beat defenders and provide service is a valuable asset to a side, but is it worth spending millions on that type of player?
The overall production of a winger just isn't as impactful as a center attacking midfielder or an out-and-out striker's would be. For that reason it's easy to see why a team wouldn't invest tons money in a predominantly wide player.
Another con to consider is his price tag that the club would likely have to pay. Corona is a young player with immense talent. Those just don't fall into a club's lap. Most likely Atlanta would first have to agree to some kind of transfer fee just be able to negotiate with Corona. Once that happens there's no guarantee the player will be open to coming to MLS in the very prime of his career.
Astronomically high contract offers have been rumored for the likes of Chicharito and Carlos Vela. Yearly salary figures that have entered into the $10-12 Million range. It's likely that a Mexican star in the prime of his career like Corona would require a similar number to be persuaded to come to MLS.
Atlanta United signing Jesus "Tecatito" Corona would be massive news around MLS. A young Mexican star coming to MLS in the prime of his career. It would rival the LA Galaxy signing Giovani dos Santos. Unfortunately this scenario is just a dream at this point. Corona seems completely content to continue his career fighting his way up the ranks in Europe.
That's not to say it's an impossible move. Soccer is a business and money talks. If AUFC want to spend the money they could blow his socks off with an offer that he couldn't refuse, but it remains to be seen just how big the club plans to go in the DP market.