It’s Time For Troubled Chicharito To Leave Manchester United

After a stuttering start to his campaign with Manchester United, the international break should have offered some welcome relief for Javier Hernandez.

But anyone who has followed Mexico’s most recent qualifying campaign will have known this to be unlikely, as El Tri have been nothing short of atrocious as of late. They can still qualify (somehow) for Brazil 2014 via a playoff, but that was no thanks to Hernandez, who is usually a talismanic figure for his country. The United star missed an open goal from six yards out (below), and his frustration was further compounded after picking up a caution that will see him suspended for the first leg of the crucial World Cup playoff.

Hernandez missed a sitter for Mexico against Costa Rica

Chicharito is out of form, no doubt. And with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck currently more favorable forward options in the eyes of club manager David Moyes, opportunities to play himself out of this rut look as though they’ll be few and far between in the short term.

The Mexican is a popular figure at Old Trafford and his passion for United is unashamedly obvious. But at this juncture, Hernandez’s best option is to seek pastures new.

It is a shame really, because on arrival in England, Hernandez looked like he was set to shine at United for years to come.

Many predicted the sleight, untried and inexperienced signing from Chivas Guadalajara would take at least one campaign to become acclimatised to the Premier League. But he impressed straight away, and performed to a level far beyond what was initially expected. He formed a superb partnership with Wayne Rooney in the latter stages of his maiden campaign and played himself into the United first XI for the 2011 Champions League final. He scored twenty goals for the club in his first season.

Naturally, expectations were that he would build on a fine debut year, but his star has since faded. An injury blemished the start to his second campaign, and the Mexican struggled to oust Danny Welbeck from the side after United started 2011/12 in red-hot form. He’s never quite been able to establish himself back in the side since then.

He has excelled coming off the bench as of late – only Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has scored more goals as a substitute for United – but no player wants to be branded a ‘super-sub’ or perhaps even worse, an ‘impact player’. Goalscorers like Hernandez want to be on the pitch as much as possible, sticking the ball in the back of the net.

And there’s no doubt he can do that. His movement in attacking areas is incisive, intelligent and supremely quickly, whilst his finishing is always clever and composed. He’s comfortable on either foot and uncannily good in the air too. If David Moyes did see fit to play him, he would certainly score goals for United. And lot’s of them. His United record to date stands at a pretty impressive 51 goals in 121 appearances — 14 of which have come as a substitute.

But Moyes has never liked strikers in the Hernandez mould. The former Everton boss has always preferred forwards who offer a physical presence or persistent injury in favour of what you might call natural goalscorers. And whilst Chicharito will give you goals, he doesn’t give you much else. He is a poacher, but one-dimensional when you consider his game as a whole.

That won’t wash with Moyes, and Hernandez looks likely to remain at the bottom of the pecking order for the immediate future. United will play one out-and-out striker and one second striker for the vast majority of this campaign. Within the confines of that system Van Persie and Welbeck are the first choice number nines, whereas Rooney and Kagawa will be the two preferred options to play in behind.

These unenviable circumstances dictate that Hernandez might want to go, and he has discussed this recently amid speculation that Tottenham are interested in acquiring his services.

Would United consider moving him on? Whilst Chicharito may not be Moyes’s cup of tea, he certainly offers something different to any of United’s current forwards. Plus, there is that old adage: any top side needs four quality strikers.

United have that, but if all four are expecting to feature on a regular basis in a system that utilises one proper striker, those left out will quickly become disillusioned. The comments above suggest it is already happening. You need a suitable blend of experienced and promising players, as well as those at the peak of their powers to maintain ambience within the squad and an appreciation of positional hierarchy.

Hernandez is no longer an untried youngster looking to find his way in the Premier League. He is 25 years old and an established goalscorer in one of the toughest domestic competitions on the planet. The bottom line is, Chicharito needs to be starting games for the sake of his own development and the furtherance of his own career.

Factor in a potential World Cup at the end of the campaign – for which if Mexico qualify Hernandez will be a key player – and the need for regular first team football becomes increasingly paramount. If he does become available, there certainly won’t be a shortage of clubs looking for a goalscorer of his calibre.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball

11 thoughts on “It’s Time For Troubled Chicharito To Leave Manchester United”

  1. Given the depth and recent signings, do you think he would have a real chance of getting some time if he moved to Tottenham? And would Moyes even let him to go to a potential top 4 club?

  2. As a United fan, I’d like to keep him. It’s nice to have a player like him on the bench because he offers something very unique and that’s useful for a manager who wants to change a game.

    A lot is made of how one-dimensional he is, but RVP is kinda one-dimensional too. They’re probably equal in terms of helping with possession and equal in terms of pressuring defenders and goalkeepers with the ball. RVP can hit free kicks a LOT better than Chicarito and RVP is left footed, so with RVP and Rooney both on the field, free kicks are a real weapon for United. RVP can put in a good cross when he is (rarely) out on the wing. And I guess RVP also takes corners…..but he probably shouldn’t because his corners aren’t very good (IMHO).

    So, you’re not going to sit RVP to play Chicharito. He’s obviously not as useful as Rooney either as a striker or as a support striker/advanced midfielder. And while he’s a better finisher than Welbeck, United mostly need Welbeck to play on the wing (where he’s better than Chicharito) OR as a target man in games where they are out-possessed (Real Madrid).

    But, I still want him on the team as a change-of-pace or in case of injury.

    For Mexico….I think that’s a whole different thing. That team is just a toxic cloud right now. It’s probably like living inside a fart.

    1. No way Hernandez and RVP are equal in terms of possession. JH plays on the line of defenders whereas RVP drifts back into midfield to pick up the ball, just like Rooney did when he was up front. JH lacks control on the ball and can’t hold it up against big world class defenders. That’s why he’s struggling now. The article is correct, he is definitely a poacher but those opportunities come few and far between.
      Everton would be a good fit for him. He and Lulaku could appear to play well together.

  3. What other top team is going to take him and make him their main striker? He is at one of the best clubs in the world (albeit with an inferior manager). He should stay and learn from one of the best strikers in the world and improve. He is just about to reach the age where strikers become their best. Look at RvP’s number at 25. Hell, he was mostly injured until he was 27.

    Does he need to leave to benefit Mexico? Even if he was scoring 20 a year it wouldnt help Mexico. They are a team that will struggle to get out of the group stages every world cup. They arent going to win anything but gold cups.

    He should stay.

  4. Chicharito deserves to be starting for a top flight team in my opinion, and with Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck at United this just isn’t going to happen unless they have real injury problems. For United it’s great to have him there ready to go in case of any mishaps but for the lad it must be deeply frustrating.

  5. Damn, I HOPE he leaves there and that they continue to feature Welbeck instead. He seems far superior to Welbeck in just about every respect.

    I would opine that this guy would just be tailor-made for the next DP slot on the LA Galaxy. The MLS should really try to go the Clint Dempsey route with him.

  6. Moyes just doesn’t know how to handle a large squad.

    Chicharito is definitely not the same player as a few years ago and has lost his edge. But if he got more playing time, alternating him and Welbeck, it would sharpen both players. Welbeck has scored a few so far this season including for England. Bur Welbeck’s ball skills often come to nothing and very often he is dispossed.

    Another mystery is why Moyes has not given Zaha a minute in the Premier League after the player did quite well pre-season. Is it a personal vendetta for some reason, even though the alleged scandal involving Zaha and Moyes’ daughter have faded from the tabloids. Give Zaha some playing time between now and December before sending him out on loan.

    Nani is ineffective and only had his contract renewed so that Man United can sell him. And Young is at his lowest form.

    Bottom line: Don’t lose Chicharito and Zaha while United is struggling to move up from mid-table, not that far off from the relegation zone.
    PS Fergie must be laughing, and containing the guffaws during his book signings. He knew that without Gill, and with the Glazers in debt, the best years are in the rearview mirror of Nani’s sports cars.

  7. For United signing players like Hernandez and Kagawa is merely a financial move to garner more support from Mexican and Japanese football fans. However, Kagawa is clearly talented and is the player who should move away to a team that could use him.

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