Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez would have walked all the way from Mexico, (with a bit of swimming thrown in as well), to England if he had been told that was what he needed to do to play for Manchester United.
It was his dream, his one wish in life and, when it came true, he was ecstatic. All his birthdays had come at once.
He already spoke perfect English and now he was moving to the country where he would prove that he could speak it better than most of his team mates, particularly the English ones.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson he wasn’t going to be guaranteed a starting place but, if he worked hard and played well when he came on as a substitute, he would be crossing that bridge sooner rather than later.
What transpired for Chicharito over the next couple of seasons was that he became an impact player. He scored more goals coming off the bench than he did starting matches so he was the latter day equivalent to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Under these circumstances it is difficult to insist that you should be playing when, each time you do, you don’t score! It is equally difficult to insist that you shouldn’t be on the bench when, each time you come on, you do score.
Hernandez seemed to come to terms with his role and accepted it graciously, coming on when required and scoring a reasonable amount of goals.
This scenario changed when David Moyes was appointed “interim” manager, although it wasn’t supposed to be a temporary job at the time.
Hernandez was playing less and less and didn’t seem to figure in Moyes’ plans. So much so that he was loaned out to Real Madrid and, although he scored goals for them he was still not picked regularly for the first team. Madrid turned down the chance to sign him permanently and he returned to United.
So it must have come as a relief when Moyes departed, unwillingly, for pastures new. Chicharito probably thought that with a new manager would come new opportunity. Again he was wrong.
Without doing anything untoward, Hernandez once more found himself out of favour and was even told that he could leave if a club came in with the right offer. He claims he was told by van Gaal that he had a 1% chance of playing.
Apparently there were offers from Premier League clubs, including Tottenham but, such was Hernandez’s love for United, he couldn’t see himself playing against them in the same league.
For me, Moyes and van Gaal showed a certain amount of naiveté when dealing with the Chicharito situation. Handled correctly he was a goal machine. Not necessarily starting games, as I said earlier, but coming from the bench. He would have accepted that role simply because he loves United.
The so-called main striker, Wayne Rooney, was the one who was supposed to be getting all the goals for van Gaal’s team. The same Wayne Rooney who loves Everton, not Manchester United and who has held the club to ransom on a couple of occasions in the past, something Hernandez would never have done. Rooney has been so successful in his role that he has been dropped back into midfield, where he is also playing terribly, and his place upfront has gone to a 19 year old, Anthony Martial..
As we know Hernandez was permanently transferred to Bayer 04 Leverkusen where he has scored 13 goals in 20 games. Manchester United as a team have only scored 8 goals more.
So, if Louis van Gaal is on borrowed time it isn’t just because the team are boring, or that they are out of the Champions League, or that he looks increasingly like a bus driver who has discovered that, while travelling at pace on a winding road, there is no steering wheel. It could also be because of some of the strange decisions he has made and selling Chicharito may just be the strangest!
As we know David De Gea was a huge fan of the Mexican hitman and still hopes to play with him again in their careers.
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