Javier Hernandez: 5 Reasons for and 5 Against Manchester United Selling Him

Terry CarrollContributor IIIOctober 24, 2012

Javier Hernandez: 5 Reasons for and 5 Against Manchester United Selling Him

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    There have been rumours of Javier Hernandez's transfer from Manchester United since before the transfer window closed.

    Hernandez is an undoubted star of the future, whether at Old Trafford or elsewhere. Here, we examine reasons both for and against United selling him, but the hope is that he will stay.

    After last night's match, who in their right mind would want to sell him? But as long as there is speculation, there is a possibility. There may also be circumstances in which United would consider the trade.

    Newspapers are always hungry for copy that will sell their editions. Sometimes a journalist may look at a set of circumstances and think "if this and this are true, then surely that will happen."

    So in the case of "Chicharito," the fact that he has not been getting games, when coupled with the needs of other clubs (Liverpool and Chelsea are just two clubs that people think need another striker), can lead to credible speculation he will move.

    That is to overlook the facts as we know them. Of course, the "little pea" has been admired and coveted by other managers, especially during his first spectacular arrival at United, but he has never given the slightest hint that he wants to move.

    On the other hand, if he became surplus to requirements or a better prospect became available, then he and his agent might need to consider a move. However, although Sir Alex bought Robin Van Persie in the summer, he disposed of both Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov to make room for his preferred four strikers.

    And these are four very different strikers. 

    Robin Van Persie started further back for Arsenal and was converted to the top man when the need became paramount. He has always been a goalscorer, but arguably, last season and this, he is one of the three or four best in the world.

    Wayne Rooney is much more than a striker. Ten years experience in the Premier League already and over 200 club goals. Approaching 80 caps for England. Able to play in midfield or cover even deeper. He is forming a formidable partnership with RVP.

    Danny Welbeck is still only 21, although he has been around since he was 17. He continues to get bigger and stronger, has pace and excellent technical skill and wins the ball in the air. He will surely end up as England's No.1.

    And Chicharito. Van Persie, Rooney and Welbeck can all score "sniffer" goals, but Hernandez is a natural.

    So what are the possible reasons for and against selling him?

Lewandowski, Keane and Henriquez

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    Among the most prevalent striker rumours surrounding Manchester United are those related to Robert Lewandowski.

    His recent performances for Poland and Dortmund were more than enough to justify the hype surrounding him. Sir Alex was at the Etihad when Dortmund played City, although he would probably cost £30 million and has recently said he isn't interested, 

    So the thinking is that if Lewandowski comes in, someone has to go out because he is only 24. Who is most vulnerable? Probably the lad getting least games, i.e. Chicharito.

    But then, with Van Persie having signed a four-year contract and Lewandowski only 24, Chicharito probably wouldn't be the only striker looking elsewhere.

    Will Keane is only 19 and is "the next big thing" at Old Trafford. If he hadn't had a serious knee injury, he was not going out on loan, so he would have got games.

    Angelo Henriquez has arrived from Chile in late August as well. United could have loaned him straight back to his former club until he was needed, but they insisted he came to Old Trafford, where he has been training with the first team squad.

    He has already been called up to the Chile squad last week despite being only 18.

    It actually makes more sense for Keane or Henriquez to be the reason for selling Chicharito. That would also apply to Josh King, who played for Norway last week, winning a penalty and scoring a goal.

    Sir Alex may believe he's got the best group of strikers in Europe since the Treble-winning side, but his striker group is seven or more rather than four. In addition, there are the likes of James Wilson and Jack Barmby coming through.

    A nice problem to have, but if one of those was making an unarguable case to be in the first team, that could be a reason to sell Hernandez.

A Makeweight for Another Player?

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    Kaka was definitely available for transfer, at least on loan, this summer, but there were no takers. Since then, he has been getting more starts and playing better.

    One of the wilder rumours suggests that Javier Hernandez would go to Real Madrid in part-exchange for the likes of Kaka. 

    There are certainly players at Real that Sir Alex has coveted. Who wouldn't? Mezut Ozil, Sami Khedira for starters, but it is hard to see Jose Mourinho letting them go.

    Nevertheless, with a hatful of young strikers at Old Trafford and plenty of managers that would covet Hernandez, Sir Alex has something to trade.

    That would be a pity, but it has been so hard for him to sign the players he wants in the past, like Eden Hazard, that having a "pill-sweetener" could be very useful.

    Right now, a top midfielder might look more attractive than a fourth striker.

    However, if Sir Alex could get the best current striker in the world, Radamel Falcao, for £20 million plus "little pea," he would probably jump at it. 

    He certainly would not let his Mexican striker go to Athletico if it enabled them to sell Falcao to City or Chelsea. That could be tantamount to Premiership suicide.

Being Fair to Him

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    Chicharito is a nice man, a fine person and a humble man. He is everything that Sir Alex would value. He works hard and says that he never stops learning.

    If he was made available, there would be no shortage of teams to sign him for at least £8 million, which means United would recoup their outlay.

    But why would they want to do that? This is another Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: a "super-sub." a natural finisher, an intelligent man with his feet firmly on the ground (except when he's scoring a headed goal!)

    In a year or two, Rooney could have a different role in midfield/ Van Persie might be moving on, and Chicharito would, by then, be one of the club's senior strikers.

    But because he's a nice man and has always done the decent thing, if he, his agent and his family thought he should move on to advance his career, Sir Alex would be unlikely to stand in his way. That's how you treat decent people.

    For the time being, however, the summer departures give a clear message that Chicharito has a future. He knows it's in competition. That's the way of the world. His response is to fight harder and harder. That can do United no harm.

Health Problems

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    Chicharito has had his share of injury problems, but he still has 88 appearances for United under his belt.

    However, there was some concern during preseason in summer 2011 when he suffered a concussion in New York from being struck on the top of the head by the ball.

    Sir Alex is ultra-cautious in giving his players sufficient time to recover from injury, but Chicharito seemed to be out for a long time before returning.

    Also, this summer, Sir Alex refused his release for Mexico's Olympic squad. The player did not challenge this and, as the previous reference showed, was glad to have a full preseason.

    Nevertheless, some question marks remain. These weren't appeased when the club doctor at Chivas de Guadalajara revealed that the player may have had some neurological issues as a teenager, which apparently hadn't been revealed to United.

    Of course, if there was a serious problem, there is no way Sir Alex would potentially risk the player's life or any long-lasting brain damage.

    So the fact that he has been playing this season suggests the matter has been resolved.

Technical Skills and Offside

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    Let's be clear here. There is no denying Chicharito's instinctive goal-scoring ability nor his pace. He must be one of the fastest players in the Premier League, and that fits nicely with Sir Alex's fast-paced, highly technical style.

    The lad has also massively improved his bodily strength and his tackling. His work-rate is exceptional.

    But two things niggle. First, his passing skill is not quite at the level of some of his peers, and he certainly can't hold a candle to Rooney's or Van Persie's long-range passing or crossing ability. 

    He also sometimes doesn't kill a received pass first time. He will have to work on all these things constantly, and he is at the right place to develop and grow into a world-class striker if the potential is there.

    The other thing which is getting increasingly irritating is his propensity to be offside.

    Frankly, there is no excuse whatsoever. It was hoped that he would have learned from Michael Owen how to time his runs to perfection, starting deeper or waiting on the last man's shoulder. Owen was a master at this.

    He can learn the same from Van Persie and much more.

    He has such pace that he could give a two-yard start to most defenders in the Premier League and still overhaul them within 25 yards. He has an explosive sprint.

    United don't play "kick and rush," but the chipped or lobbed pass over a high defensive line worked very well in Chicharito's first season. Now, it hardly ever works, and the main reason is because he keeps getting offside.

    This may be a consequence of him not getting game time, but if he wants to be the very best and get a regular start he must sort this; otherwise, it could be an easy excuse to keep him on the bench.

    Nevertheless, the statistics show that even as a "super-sub," he still scores goals at a highly acceptable rate.


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    So those are possible reasons for him moving on. Now what are the arguments in favour of keeping him? To the end of his career maybe.

    The first is his age. At 24, he is still learning and growing as a striker. Wayne Rooney has had 10 seasons in the Premier League and is still improving.

    Even Sir Alex would say that strikers don't mature until their late 20s.

    In many ways, Chicharito still resembles a young lad. He seems to have boundless energy. He is humble enough to realise that he can still learn from others, not just strikers, but also in other elements of his game.

    In the modern game, it is no longer acceptable for one or two players to have a limited role and not be part of the defence. Traditionally the "No. 9" might have been allowed to remain up the pitch waiting for the ball to be hoofed to him, but no more.

    Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo were just two players at Old Trafford who were allowed to not tackle back. That is no longer true. Chicharito puts in a stint like everyone else, but still needs to be available as a striker when needed.

    So he is learning and growing, and this is just part of what makes him an exciting striker. He could become one of the very best, like Sergio Aguero.


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    Chicharito has been at his most effective for Mexico. Here is where we find the evidence of how good he can be. International football is on a whole different plane. 

    His scoring record for Mexico is even better than his club record.

    So far, at only 24, he has 43 appearances for Mexico, scoring 28 goals. That's a more than decent return for an international striker, and especially a club striker.

    To put it in context, that represents 0.65 goals per game. Wayne Rooney has 32 goals in 78 matches at 0.41, Robin Van Persie 31 in 71 at 0.43, Michael Owen 40 in 89 at 0.45.

    Even allowing for the team he is playing for and that many matches are played in CONCACAF, the Mexican's scoring record, especially for one so young, is very impressive.

    The shape of things to come if he stays at United...

Scoring Record

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    Apart from his Mexican scoring record, you can't ignore his results at Manchester United.

    He seems to have accepted that his role is as a "super sub," and with his boundless energy, he can always threaten to score a match-winner or bonus goals when he comes on.

    Despite the fact that he starts relatively few matches, he has scored 35 in 90 appearances for Manchester United. That equates to almost 0.4 goals per match. 

    For comparison, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had 126 goals in 366 matches at United, equivalent to only 0.34 up to his retirement at 34. And his international scoring record was 23 in 67 matches, again only 0.34.

    So on any measure his scoring record is precocious for one so young and yet another reason to keep him.

He Doesn't Want to Leave

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    Does this look like a man who wants to leave?

    Only months after Pogba, Morrison and Fryers decided they couldn't wait any longer, Chicharito has made it clear he's very happy at Manchester United.

    He signed a new five-year contract exactly a year ago. Does this sound like a player who wants to leave, irrespective of reported interest elsewhere? He's still living the dream.

Few Natural Sniffers

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    From the moment that Sergio Aguero signed for Manchester City, they became a credible force to be reckoned with. He is a natural-born "sniffer." This is an English colloquial term for a predator in and around the six-yard box.

    Jimmy Greaves was the most famous "sniffer" for England. Jermain Defoe is one at Spurs. Andy Cole was for Manchester United. Michael Owen was one, as he nearly showed for Stoke on Saturday.

    What they have in common is an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and score a goal with any part of the anatomy: the head, foot, knee, shoulder, whatever.

    Look at some of Chicharito's goals, and you'll see what we mean. 

    These players also have a high ratio of goals on target. Some people didn't rate Andy Cole when he signed from Newcastle for United, but he had the highest goals on target ratio in the Premier League at the time.

    These players are like gold dust on the modern Premier League, with tight blanket defences.

    So all in all, there is a highly persuasive case to be made for keeping Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) at Old Trafford. Whatever doubts people may have had about whether he had lost form were confounded last night. 

    He should have had a hat trick if the Serbian linesman had not got his offside decision totally wrong. Chicharito is back and will have given Sir Alex another headache with the Chelsea match coming up at the weekend.