Is Antonio Pedroza-Whitham Tottenham Hotspur's New Chicharito?

With every club now looking for the 'next Chicharito' Spurs may have just found him in Anglo/Mexican: Antonio Pedroza Whitham - but can the kid really play?
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With every club now looking for the 'next Chicharito' Spurs may have just found him in Anglo/Mexican: Antonio Pedroza Whitham - but can the kid really play?

The hunt for the ‘next Chicharito’ has begun. Tottenham Hotspur have apparently made their own scoop of a Mexican goal scorer with the rumored signing of 20-year-old Antonio Pedroza Whitham. Born in Chester, England to a British mother and a Mexican father, interestingly, Pedroza has yet to be capped by the Mexican national team so he is eligible to play for England. No, this is not Harry Redknapp’s highly anticipated summer signing, but as cheap forward with the potential to resell for a profit, it could be a good deal for Harry Redknapp. Except for one thing, can the kid really play?

Pedroza is no giant at 5’7”, 150lbs, but his nose for net (and his half-British surname) has earned him trials at Chelsea and Arsenal in the past. Keep in mind Spurs fans, THIS IS NOT YOUR CHICHARITO. Statistically, Pedroza’s stint in Mexico has hardly prompted major European clubs to come knocking down his door like Little Pea’s did. In 12 appearances for Jaguares de Chiapas this season, Pedroza has scored only four times, although he has featured mostly off the bench. Chicharito, on the other hand, scored 26 goals in 64 appearances for Guadalajara before moving to England.

Aside from Chicharito, Mexico has not been a farmhouse for exceptional Premier League talent. Look no further than Tottenham’s own Giovanni dos Santos. Dos Santos may well be the Robin to Mexico’s Batman in Chicharito, but his inspiring performances for his country have never really materialised for his club. In fact, the Mexican style of play has never really succeeded in England. So why take the risk on Pedroza?

Pedroza apparently has a penchant for scoring important goals. Earlier this year, he scored in both legs of Copa Libertadores qualifying against Alianz Lima of Peru. After coming on as a substitute in the second leg, Pedroza fearlessly ran onto an ambitious throughball and, without taking a touch, fired past the Lima goalkeeper before getting clobbered by a central defender - a real exhibition of the toughness needed to make it England.

Two months ago, in the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores, Pedroza headed home an imperative equalizer in the second half of extra time against Paraguayan outfit, Cerro Porteno. His raw ability, relentless hustle, and Chicharito-like goal poaching has likened him comparisons to former Chester City boy and Liverpool star Ian Rush. If Pedroza blossoms in England, he could fill that coveted super-sub role for Redknapp.

As with most 20-year-olds though, Pedroza is likely too raw for Premier League action and will probably be nothing more than a fringe player at White Hart Lane if he is not sent off on loan to a Championship side. If Tottenham are serious about developing Pedroza into a true English centre forward, a stint in the Championship would be a great way for him to rediscover his English roots. If he succeeds in the Championship, Spurs could offload him and make a buck. If not, well, they aren’t losing anything by signing him - as he’s out of contract with his Mexican club.

Evidently, Pedroza understands the transition ahead of him. "I'll work very hard. We know it will be a little difficult to adapt to English football,” he says, “but I will go there with the mentality of succeeding as soon as I can, always staying calm and trying to do things the best I can.”

Although ‘tis the season for bogus transfer rumors and many speculate Tottenham’s interest in the striker could all be a tall tale on Pedroza’s half, the Anglo-Mexican seems very certain he will be traveling to London this weekend.

"I signed a pre-contract for three years and it looks like I will stop training here with Jaguares to join up on July 4, although I still have to confirm the flight,” says Pedroza, who’s mum and sister still live in Cheshire, "I'll arrive [in London] in the next few days. From what I have understood, I will take part in pre-season with the first team and it will depend on me whether they send me on loan to the Championship or if I stay there, but I still haven't spoken to Tottenham."

Ominous last words from the striker who should hope, what he calls a “dream move to England” is not a big farce. The humble Pedroza, however, was also very grateful for his time in Mexico:

"I'm happy and very satisfied to leave such a great club like Jaguares. After talking it over with [Jaguares president] Guillermo Cantu and with [Jaguares coach Jose Guadalupe] 'Profe' Cruz, it looks like my days at Jaguares are coming to an end.”

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