Who is Fidel Barajas? The 17-year-old Mexican gem wanted by Chelsea and Atletico Madrid
Fidel Barajas is attracting the attention of some big hitters in European football after enjoying an exceptional 2023 season in the United States.
The 17-year-old is plying his trade - although not for much longer - with the Charleston Battery in the American second division, helping his side mount an unlikely title challenge before departing for the U17 World Cup in Indonesia with Mexico.
What position does Barajas play in?
Barajas is a left-footed right-winger who can also feature on the opposite flank.
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) September 24, 2023
How good is Barajas?
Born in Sacramento, California, Barajas initially came through the celebrated youth setup at the Sac Republic of the USL Championship before joining the academy of MLS side San Jose Earthquakes. In 2022, he made the jump into professional football, moving back to the Championship and linking up with the Charleston Battery, one of the US lower leagues' most recognisable names.
The Battery, however, had been mired in mid-table obscurity for several years at that point already and the youngster - despite notching an assist on his debut - couldn't get them out of their rut. The arrival of Ben Piermann, who has established himself as one of the division's best coaches, changed everything.
Piermann got the youngster firing and then some. In 2023, Barajas recorded five goals and 11 assists, mostly from the right wing, as the Battery finished fourth in the Eastern Conference before going on an unlikely title charge. Barajas would notch a goal and two assists in the playoffs as his side stormed to the Championship final but the start of the U17 World Cup meant that he was away in Indonesia for the showpiece event against Phoenix Rising, Didier Drogba's former club. Without Barajas, the Battery were defeated on penalties on home soil.
After his spectacular 2023 season, the youngster was named the Players' Choice Young Player of the Year by his peers. A tricky winger with silky smooth skills, Barajas is an all-action player who has a knack for scoring spectacular goals. The wonderkid is a baller in every sense of the word.
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) September 26, 2023
What clubs are interested in Barajas?
In light of his breakout campaign, Mexican media began reporting that Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and PSV are the European sides holding a strong interest in Barajas. In North America, several MLS clubs and Mexican side Necaxa are said to be keen on the youngster. A move away from the Battery is described as being 'imminent' due to his expiring contract.
When does Barajas' contract expire?
Barajas' contract expires on November 30, 2023.
What is Barajas' Instagram?
Barajas' Instagram account is @fideljuniorbarajas and has 13k followers as of November 2023.