Six top clubs aimed at the Mexico international over the winter transfer window, but he preferred to stay with the Red Devils, despite the lack of playing time.
This season, Chicharito has played 1,062 minutes out of 2,970 possible; he has been capped 33 times, but he has only started eight games, while he has been a substitute in 13 matches and has stayed on the bench in eight more.
His goal-scoring knack is not what it used to be, but he has managed to put the ball away in key moments. So far he has seven goals to his count, including one against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semifinal that forced a penalty shootout, which the Red Devils ultimately lost.
Hernandez is not going anywhere because neither he nor David Moyes want him to, plain and simple.
The striker is willing to work as hard as needed to secure the starting position, despite the ferocious competition with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.
In an interview with Telemundo Deportes (h/t Sky Sports) in October he said:
I am going on four years here [at Manchester United] and really, like I have always said, I am happy to be able to play for one of the best clubs in the world, doing my best every single day to earn more minutes on the pitch.
Moyes backed his player in November, days before a UEFA Champions League clash against Real Sociedad:
We need Javier Hernandez; he's very good for us. He's scored a lot of goals over the last few years and continues to do so, so we'll continue to use him.
For the following six months, Chicharito will wear the same jersey, but after the World Cup he may leave the club, his agent told ESPN Deportes (h/t Daily Mirror).
The question, of course, is: What’s next for him? The answer is quite simple: The same thing that has happened in the past four years.
He will continue to be a sub, the golden one, but still a sub. Hernandez struggled under Sir Alex Ferguson’s command, despite being one of the best finishers on the team.
With Moyes in control and still trying to find his starting XI, Hernandez’s playing time has been considerably shortened.
For the first time since he arrived in Manchester, he stayed on the bench in three successive games, against Shakhtar Donetsk, Sunderland and Southampton. This is also the second season he has been an unused substitute nine times in his first 33 games, his worst streak.
Despite it all, Chicharito will be defending Mexico’s jersey this summer during the 2014 World Cup.
Coach Herrera told Mexican website MedioTiempo.com that he will consider the United footballer, although he is not sure how long he will be on the pitch.
Oribe Peralta will probably get the starting gig, but Chicharito is a game changer, works inside the box like few strikers and, with Carlos Vela out of the picture, he will get even more time.
The following months will be key. Moyes does not have another player like Chicharito at his service and will not find one anytime soon. If he decides to send him in regularly and acknowledges his fidelity, the Mexican might stay.
But it seems like a long shot. If he leaves for a team where he plays constantly, he will mature. That means he will become a complete footballer, one who can not only finish a play, but who can also craft it.
Hernandez’s future is not with Manchester United. He needs to leave and sign with another top club that can explode his assets of speed, wit and elusiveness.
Spanish sources cited in this article translated by the author unless otherwise noted.
All data provided by espnfc.com unless otherwise stated.