Layun won’t let talk of Watford exit “mess with my head”

Miguel Layun says the talk over where his permanent future lies will not distract him from World Cup and Champions League qualification.

Layun has made a dream start to life in Porto, scoring in the Champions League against Slavisa Jovanovic’s Maccabi Tel Aviv and following that up with a goal and assist in the following league game. Porto are second in the league, five points behind Sporting Lisbon with a game in hand and are in pole position in Group G of the Champions League, sitting top, three points clear of Chelsea.

Layun’s attention switches to his beloved Mexico over the next few days as El Tri face El Salvador today and Hondurus on Tuesday as their bid to qualify for Russia 2018 gets underway.

The form of the versatile 27-year-old has sparked talk of a permanent move to Porto. He said in September “it would be a very nice moment” if he returned to Watford in the summer but he appears to have changed his tune.

“Of course I would like to continue at FC Porto,” he said this week.  “Porto are an important club, which everyone can see. But for the moment, I must remember that nothing is resolved and I have to enjoy the good time I’m going through.”

Sanchez Flores was taken aback when Layun, who is big mates with Rene Gilmartin, told him at the end of August he wanted to move to Portugal, especially after the head coach had started him in the first two matches of the Premier League season.

“He [Quique Sanchez Flores] is a great coach and a good person,” Layun said. “What he says is true, I do belong to Watford, but who has the last word is the FC Porto. But I will not let this external noise mess with my head. I am at Porto and I am happy here.”

Reports suggest Porto have the option to buy the player for €6m but a high-ranking source at Vicarage Road was, when asked by us, not aware of any option-to-buy negotiated in the season-long loan deal.

Contracted at Watford until the summer of 2019, Layun, as we reported last week, agitated for the move because he feared his place in the national team would be jeopardised if he played a bit-part role at Vicarage Road. He is yet to be substituted in a Porto game and has only been a substitute once, against Chelsea in the 2-1 win in the Champions League.

Layun training with Mexico this week
Layun training with Mexico this week

Fellow Mexican internationals Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona and Raul Gudino are also in the squad of Porto manager Julen Lopetegui – and, along with Layun and the rest of Mexico’s 25-man squad, they have been branded the worst crop of El Tri players in two decades, by a former coach of the national team.

“This [generation] hasn’t done anything,” said Manuel Lapuente said in an interview with ESPN. “It didn’t do anything in the World Cup, or in recent tournaments like the Copa America in Chile or the Gold Cup.

“We’ll see what happens in the Confederations Cup and qualifying [for Russia 2018]. I hope [new manager Juan Carlos Osorio] does well, is successful and shows and proves that this generation is the best. [I hope he] proves it in the individual and collective [sense]; as a collective they haven’t done anything.”