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Meet Edson Alvarez, The West Ham Midfielder Nicknamed El Machin: Salary, Shirt Number, More

Meet Edson Alvarez, The West Ham Midfielder Nicknamed El Machin: Salary, Shirt Number, More

Edson Alvarez was signed by West Ham United as the de facto like-for-like Declan Rice replacement after the Englishman departed for Arsenal. The Hammers reportedly paid a £35.4 million fee to sign him, nearly £70 million less than what they received from Rice’s sale.

On his 23rd appearance, the 26-year-old defensive midfielder managed to score his first-ever Premier League goal in the win over Everton at Goodison Park.

But it wasn’t for his goals that West Ham signed him from Ajax. It was for his ability to destroy and disrupt opposition attacks and be an absolute thorn in the deeper areas of their midfield line.

The Mexican midfielder has earned the nickname of ‘El Machin’ from the fans, thanks to his never-say-die spirit and because of the midfielder’s personality.

His former Club America teammate, Oribe Peralta explained the same and told The Athletic

In Mexico many of the players have nicknames. I’ve also called him ‘Flaco’ because he’s slim and tall, but fans call him ‘Machin’, which is a guy that is strong, tough and doesn’t back down.

Soon after Edson Alvarez joined West Ham, a Mexican fan took to the Hammers subreddit to describe the meaning of the nickname EL Machin –

Let me tell you about Edson Alvarez’s nickname. In Mexican Spanish his nickname comes from the slang word “machín.” It’s slang for something that is macho and strong or tough. It is typically used in a masculine form and a stand-in for words like badass, cool, or sick!

Machin is pronounced Ma/cheen, with an emphasis in the ‘ma’.

Edson was born in Tlalnepantla de Baz, situated just north of Mexico City to parents Evaristo Alvarez and Adriana Velazquez.

Evaristo was incidentally a Third division footballer in Mexico, who couldn’t ever make it out of that level. Edson’s family also ran a business of am manufacturing football kits for local Mexican teams, something which inspired young Alvarez to fall in love with the sport.

He was only 10 upon joining Mexican club Pachuca’s youth academy, but he failed to really stand out among his peers at that level.

Only two years after joining the academy, he was released by the club due to his short stature and lowly figure, something which hurt him and his family – who dreamed of watching him play for the Mexican club.

Edson was ready to give up his hopes of becoming a professional footballer and look into something else, but it was Evaristo who urged him to keep going on. His dad recalled the incident of Edson’s release from Pachuca’s academy to ESPN

I was on the ground, I was defeated, in the Fourth Division, but I told him ‘come on son, let’s go, let’s go!’ You are working so he has to produce something of what you are doing.

After turning 16, Edson decided to take a test for Mexican side Club America and join them on an initial three-month internship programme.

At that time, he was around 5’9’ and found to be strong and willing enough to excel at the club. He was ultimately signed onto Club America’s youth academy and played two years at the youth level, but those were among the toughest in his career.

Edson Alvarez in Club America kit

That is because it took Alvarez two to three hours of travel from his home in Tlalnepantla to Club America’s training ground in Tlalpan. He did not have a car at that time and had to take public transport, spending over 70% of whatever earnings he made on that.

Peralta recalls that period and said –

Edson had to take a train, a bus and a taxi. I have no idea how much he spent getting to training, but it must’ve been a lot. He had to wake up so early just to make it in time. When things started to get serious, me and some of the older guys told him he had to live closer to the training ground. The club knew they had a great prospect in Edson so they helped him find an apartment.

It was not until 2016 that Alvarez broke into the Club America senior team at the age of 18. Initially, he was played either as a centre-back or right-back due to the club’s needs.

Edson Alvarez kept improving his physique (he’s currently 6’2’’ tall) and helped them win the Liga MX and Copa MX titles in his three years at the club before Ajax came calling to sign him in 2019.

Edson Alvarez in Ajax kit
Edson Alvarez in Ajax kit

The Mexican started to excel under Erik ten Hag at Ajax, winning two back-to-back Eredivisie titles with them (2020-21, 2021-22) and the KNVB Cup in 2021. West Ham came calling in 2023 and Edson jumped at the opportunity, having visited London in the past on vacations and knowing how things work in the city.

Alvarez’s agent, Nathan van Kooperen of the PROMOFUT footballer’s agency, definitely got him a lucrative package alongside the transfer.

Edson Alvarez earns £ 100,000 per week salary at West Ham currently. He actaully saw his salary jump from just around £1.46 million a year (at Ajax) to a whopping £5.2 million at West Ham United.

Alvarez is contracted to West Ham until 2028 after penning a five-year deal and chose the no.19 on his shirt –

My father always played with that number when he was young. When I started my career in the young categories my father put me in 19 when I was a striker! I scored a lot of goals with the 19 so it is very special for me.

The 26-year-old is enjoying a really eventful season for West Ham. He has been booked 9 times in 23 Premier League games this season, 13 in all competitions, but that is because of his aggressive style and proactiveness sometimes getting the better of him.

Alvarez has stood out in major games against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – even outshining Rice at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season, being praised by Dutch journalist Henk Spaan as ‘Alvarez was gesticulating like (Johan) Cruyff; he intercepted balls and set up attacks like a (Frank) Rijkaard.’

Edson’s teammate Emerson Palmieri gave a glowing review of his playing style and the kind of leader he is on the pitch, saying earlier this season –

Edson is a more defensive player. He’s an animal. He is a hard worker and, in the game, you can see him moving. He’s unbelievable because he runs for everyone. 

He’s an animal because, in training and in the warm-ups, he’s like he’s in the games. He wants to put in 100 percent all the time. When you have a guy like this, who wants to fight and run for everyone, it makes it something that everyone wants to do. He’s our teammate and when Álvarez does these things, we want to do it too.

After his move to the Premier League, Alvarez has seen his rating card on FC 24 bump up to 81 (he was 80 on FIFA 23) and his best attributes include an 87 physicality, 83 interceptions and 83 tackling. On Football Manager 24, he is rated at 75 (the same as FM 23) with high attributes on aggression, tackling, marking and stamina.

El Machin has slowly, but surely become a fan favourite at West Ham United because of his sheer dedication to the team, fearlessness and desperation to win every single battle on the pitch. If he can continue improving certain aspects of his game (like his aggression), it won’t be far before Alvarez can make the Hammers forget about Declan Rice.