Friday, February 4, 2011

Reports of Arsenal interest in Salgado premature

NEW YORK – The reports of serious Arsenal interest in Vancouver Whitecaps forward and No. 1 SuperDraft selection Omar Salgado (above, right) are unsubstantiated, according to the player’s representative.

Earlier this week, England newspaper Daily Mirror went as far as referring to the 17-year-old Salgado as the “new Chicharito.” Like Manchester United’s Javier Hernández, the El Paso, Texas, native spent time in the Chivas de Guadalajara youth system in Mexico.

“Arsenal are also keeping tabs on the 'new Chicharito' – Omar Salgado, a 17-year-old striker with Vancouver Whitecaps,” reported the Daily Mirror on Feb. 1.
“As soon as I saw the story come across, I called Arsenal’s head scout in North America,” said Salgado’s representative, Chris Megaloudis of Long View Management. “At the moment, there’s no real interest from [Arsenal], but he’s on their radar.

“The only club from England with any contact was Everton, since they had him in for some time [in training]. They check in periodically to keep tabs on him to monitor his general overall progress.”
Salgado trained with Everton after signing an MLS contract that made him eligible for the 2011 SuperDraft. The Whitecaps then pulled one of the major surprises of the draft when they made him the No. 1 overall pick back on Jan. 13.
“If Vancouver is taking him No. 1, it’s not to transfer him tomorrow,” Megaloudis told “Vancouver has said to us that he is a piece they’re going to build their franchise around.”
The Whitecaps have clearly invested in Salgado for the future. FIFA rules prohibit players under 18 from playing competitive soccer for a club which is not based in their home country. Since Salgado’s parents reside in Texas, he is prevented from featuring for Vancouver until he turns 18 in September. He indicated that the Whitecaps might loan him to another team to stay active.

When it comes to preseason exhibition matches, Salgado is allowed to participate. He appeared in the first one, a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake earlier this week, which left him with a strong first impression.
“My team surprised me for being a new team and I thought we would play at a slower pace,” Salgado told “But we played well, much better than Real Salt Lake. On a personal level, I felt very comfortable and the team played incredibly well.”

The Whitecaps take the field again on Friday afternoon against the Seattle Sounders in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Salgado knows that a strong preseason will also help him in his quest to make the US Under-20 national team that will seek to qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup this summer.

A strong showing at the finals in Colombia, and his name is sure to show up in a few more foreign papers.

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