Since Dean Ashton, West Ham United have failed to sign a consistently prolific goal scorer. The likes of Carlton Cole and Bobby Zamora have shown sparks of success but ultimately flopped. With former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez reportedly available for around £13 million, the club should be doing everything in their power to bring the Mexican to East London.
Co-owner David Gold insists lessons have been learnt from last summer’s disastrous recruitment drive and the club will no longer look to sign foreigners who are untested in English football:
“Without strikers, you struggle in the Premier League, you struggle in any division because strikers are your key players.”
“You have to spend your money wisely and on strikers, particularly strikers that have had experience with Premier League football – the very best we can afford,” he explained
“We have tried the route of going overseas to bring in players – that hasn’t worked. We had a very difficult season because players we brought in from Europe didn’t make the grade and we paid the price by flirting with relegation last season.”
Nicknamed ‘Chicarito’, Hernandez’ career began at Guadalajara in Mexico’s Liga MX. In 2005–06 he made his debut for Las Chivas in the Apertura. With the score at 3-0 he came on as a substitute in the 82nd minute and scored the fourth goal of the game just five minutes later. This was his only goal in seven appearances that campaign, and a year later his talents were questioned as he made a further six appearances without scoring a single goal.
After going ten games without scoring in 2008, he scored four goals in fifteen games in the 2009 Clausura. In the Apertura of that year, he finished as the joint-third top scorer with eleven goals in seventeen appearances and began to make a name for himself.
After finishing the 2010 Torneo Bicentenario as the joint-leader in the goal-scoring charts, with ten goals in eleven games, Manchester United finally made their move. The Red Devils were made aware of the striker in 2009 after sending scouts over to Mexico. Within three weeks, they liked what they saw and a year later, Hernandez was a United player.
Chicharito made 103 appearances for Man Utd, scoring 37 times in four successful years at the club. He scored 20 goals in his debut season in the Premier League and was a huge hit with the supporters.
With the likes of Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in the Los Blancos ranks, the little Mexican found it hard to hold down a regular first team place. He did manage to play 23 times, scoring seven goals, most notably a winner in the 1-0 Champions League quarter-final win over rivals Atlético Madrid, which won the hearts of many Real fans.
After returning to Manchester for talks, it was made clear he had no future at the club, so a £7.3m bid was accepted by the board and Hernandez was on his way to Bayer Leverkusen. Just like in England and Spain, Hernandez took Germany by storm and was soon loved by all the Leverkusen supporters. He has gone on to score 39 times in the past two seasons.
After two years in Germany, the Mexican reportedly has a release clause of £13m. With West Ham crying out for a striker who has scored goals in the Premier League and played at all levels during his career, Hernandez ticks all the boxes.
Throughout his travels around different continents, he has played 244 games for four clubs, scoring an impressive 98 times. On the international stage he has represented Mexico on 94 occasions, and during his eight years, he has scored 48 times and is his country’s current top scorer of all-time.
A clear trait to his game is the fact he is a natural finisher: a goal poacher who will score scrappy goals from six-yards out. He is the sort of player the Hammers fans will love for his work rate as well as his talent.
At 29 years old, the Mexican still has a good few years in him yet. Along with another attacking signing, Hernandez would be a great buy and his goals would be exactly what is needed to help the club try and push on for a Europa League place.