Manchester United's seemingly prolonged quest to sign Southampton left-back Luke Shaw could rest on whether the Red Devils are willing to part with Javier Hernandez.
Chris Richards of the Mirror believes the Mexican striker, who has struggled to nail down a consistent starting place since joining the Old Trafford club in 2010, is wanted on the south coast and beyond.
"Southampton are reportedly eyeing Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez in part-exchange for Luke Shaw," writes Richards. "The Mexico international is also wanted by Serie A giants Inter Milan and Spanish side Valencia."
Such a deal was recently overlooked by United's Twitter account, which indicated Hernandez will stay during a birthday message on June 1:
Hernandez wrote about his experience of moving to England on the club's website, saying, "I wanted to play for United and prove every year that I can be in the best shape, in the best form and fitness and show what a footballer and a person I can be."
Jamie Jackson of The Guardian believes the northern club is "racing" to land Shaw before the World Cup begins. A reported £30 million deal is in the offing, something the inclusion of Hernandez could likely cut by at least a third. Little Pea's transfer would make sense for the St Mary's side, especially after Rickie Lambert's move to Liverpool was confirmed, as reported by Sky Sports.
Hernandez started just eight matches and made 21 substitute appearances across the Premier League and Champions League during the 2013-14 season, per WhoScored.com. He netted four goals and provided three assists in this time, but he also scored four in five Capital One Cup appearances as well as scoring in his only FA Cup display.
The 26-year-old is a proven goalscorer, someone who can make a real difference with his intelligent movement and ability to be in the right place when opportunities are created. Unfortunately for Hernandez, his game perhaps isn't well-rounded enough to ever maintain a starting place at the Theatre of Dreams.
He has been prone to sloppiness in recent times. The diminutive striker's finishing looked slightly off during the last campaign, and his proneness to running offside halted many attacks. Hernandez isn't particularly strong at holding the ball up and was often suffocated out of games under David Moyes, suggesting he would need a strike partner or plenty of midfield support if he were to impress at Southampton.
Saints fans are surely fearing a mass exodus of talent after Lambert moved to Liverpool. Adam Lallana continues to be linked with the same transfer, as reported by Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail, while Shaw's future is a staple of the gossip columns right now.
Roy Hodgson has indicated medicals can only take place during England's seven days in Miami, a trip that is already underway, suggesting any pre-World Cup transfers must happen soon, as reported by Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail. Hernandez's inclusion in the deal could speed things up and would certainly be a a sweetener for Southampton fans who could see their trio of biggest stars exit.
He certainly has the talent to be a regular starter in the Premier League, but the system needs to be just right. Southampton are currently without a manager, indicating Hernandez may be the choice of the board, not the new boss.
Most United fans would certainly be disappointed to see the hit man leave, but after four years of not quite making it at Old Trafford, the step could be necessary to progression under Louis van Gaal.