Javier Hernandez a Good Fit for Real Madrid, but Doesn't Address Balance Issues

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2014

AP Images

As Javier Hernandez's season-long loan from Manchester United to Real Madrid was confirmed on Monday, per BBC Sport, the activity on social media surrounding the strikerand Los Blancos in generalrather neatly summed up how the Mexican's arrival would fit into the European champions' narrative.

A penalty-area poacher with a knack for grabbing late goals, the 26-year-old's scoring prowess was highlighted via statistics, illustrating the impact Hernandez often had as a substitute at Old Trafford:

However, concurrently breaking alongside Chicharito's switch to the Bernabeu was the news that Cristiano Ronaldo had suggested his disapproval of Real's transfer activityparticularly the sales of Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso to Manchester United and Bayern Munich, respectively:

While the two stories aren't directly related, their presence on the same afternoon encapsulated everything about president Florentino Perez's latest round of business: Hernandez is a seamless fit, but he doesn't come close to addressing Real Madrid's alarming lack of balance.

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

For the Mexican, it's difficult to envisage how his playing time could significantly increase in the Spanish capital, given the fearsome attacking talent already residing in Carlo Ancelotti's squad.

If more starting opportunities are what Hernandez is after, Real is hardly the club for him.

But the departure of Alvaro Morata to Juventus and the long injury layoff for Jese had created a need for a secondary striker at the Bernabeu. It's a need Hernandez will fill, and he'll do it well, too.

Indeed, the forward's record under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal is irrelevant for Madrid. Having lost their lethal edge—almost forgetting how to attack altogether—United's malaise since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement had rendered Hernandez's predatory, inside-the-box instincts useless.

Not one for moments of frightening individual brilliance, Chicharito's value instead centres on his ability to convert the half-chances made by his teammates, making his 2012-13 campaign the one that holds context for Real.

You only need to look at his goal map from United's last title-winning season to understand that Hernandez is often the right guy, in the right place, at the right time when the ball is repeatedly thrust into the penalty area:

It's those opportunities, and there will be a plethora of them, that the Mexican will thrive on with Ancelotti's relentlessly attacking outfit.

When Ronaldo and Gareth Bale launch rasping shots from distance, it's Hernandez who'll be ready to pounce on any mistake from the keeper. When Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo whip in crosses in the dying minutes, it's Hernandez who'll regularly latch onto them. When the penalty area is a sea of congestion, it's Hernandez who'll come up with the reactionary touch that bundles the ball over the line.

And when Real need something different, something admittedly less fluid but unpredictably effective, it's Hernandez who'll be that guy.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's third goal to make the score 3-2 during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Manchester United and SC Braga at Old Trafford on October 23, 20
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Despite the seamless fit, though, it's Ronaldo's comment in the wake of Los Blancos' 4-2 capitulation against Real Sociedad on Sunday that reflects the team's more urgent needs, highlighting the absence of a defensive balance that Hernandez can't help to solve.

Now without Alonso and Di Maria, Ancelotti's starting XI has been stripped of two of the midfield cornerstones of last season's continental dominance.

With the Spaniard shielding and the Argentinian connecting it all, Luka Modric was afforded the freedom to develop into one of the most incisive central midfielders in Europe last term.

As a triumvirate, that midfield group contained a blend of experience, strong tackling, blistering speed and technical proficiencya concoction one might refer to as balance.

As Real Sociedad butchered Ancelotti's trio of Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco at the Estadio Anoeta, such a commodity was nonexistent. The home side took advantage of a heavily skewed midfield that is unable—or perhaps unwilling—to play both ways.

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - AUGUST 31:  Toni Kroos of Real Madrid CF during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Anoeta on August 31, 2014 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Thus, Hernandez's arrival at the Bernabeu on deadline day comes at an inopportune time for the player himself.

Not an elite defender, not a supreme holding midfielder, not Radamel Falcao, the circumstances surrounding Los Blancos have hampered the perception of the Mexican's switch, casting him as both an unnecessary and underwhelming addition to a club of Real's standing.

Neither is entirely correct: Hernandez fills a need behind Karim Benzema and is an instinctive scorer capable of altering storylines as they approach 90 minutes in length.

It just so happens that he also stands as the very opposite of Real Madrid's most pressing, early-season requirement.


    The Contenders to Replace Wenger

    World Football logo
    World Football

    The Contenders to Replace Wenger

    Guardian sport
    via the Guardian

    Arsenal in 'Advanced Negotiations' with Luis Enrique

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Arsenal in 'Advanced Negotiations' with Luis Enrique

    Matt Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    Bale and Benzema Share the Real Madrid Tightrope

    Real Madrid logo
    Real Madrid

    Bale and Benzema Share the Real Madrid Tightrope

    via MARCA in English

    Ancelotti Welcomes Arsenal Links

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ancelotti Welcomes Arsenal Links

    Gill Clark
    via Bleacher Report