The January transfer window has officially opened, and Arsenal are being linked with a host of players who could boost their attacking firepower. One of those forwards is Bayer Leverkusen's Javier Hernandez, and the latest reports now state he would be available for a fee of £25 million.
The former Manchester United man has been a smash hit in the Bundesliga, leaving Old Trafford for Leverkusen last summer. He has rediscovered the form that made him such an intriguing prospect all those years ago, and it has resulted in back-to-back Player of the Month awards, per World Soccer Talk:
Kevin Palmer of the Independent claims Arsenal are very interested in bringing the Mexico international back to the Premier League, despite the fact Chicharito has already played for two clubs this season―making him ineligible to play for a third until the 2016-17 campaign.
With 11 goals in 12 Bundesliga starts, Hernandez is scoring at a ridiculous pace, and he's been Bayer's top performer by some distance, per WhoScored.com. The team sit outside of the Champions League spots and are already chasing the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund by some distance.
The 27-year-old seems more than happy at the BayArena, and for the first time in years, he's playing like a liberated man. Take a look at some of the spectacular goals he's scored over the past few months:
Strong form like that is always going to lead to transfer speculation, and given his history with the Premier League, it's no surprise English clubs are being linked with the Mexican. Arsenal have looked more than solid in attack so far in the 2015-16 campaign, but depth remains an issue.
Theo Walcott has a long history of struggling with injuries, and Alexis Sanchez has also missed time this season. Olivier Giroud was one of the Gunners' top performers of the first half of the campaign, but one injury to the Frenchman could spell disaster.
There's little doubt Arsenal will invest in another forward at some point in the future, but it's hard to imagine Hernandez leaving Leverkusen for the Emirates in January. For one, he wouldn't be eligible to play, and after years wasted on the United and Real Madrid bench, one has to assume he's enjoying regular minutes right now.
ESPN FC's Cesar Hernandez thinks Chicharito may be tempted to try his luck in England again, but he also believes he should stay in the Bundesliga for now:
Chicharito to Arsenal? No matter how enticing, he's gotta stick with Leverkusen. For now.— Cesar Hernandez (@cesarhfutbol) December 27, 2015
Hernandez is an excellent forward who fits Leverkusen's attacking philosophy like a glove, but at the Emirates Stadium, he would likely find himself in a similar situation as his time at Old Trafford. Giroud is just a better target man, and when healthy, he's very likely to start over Hernandez.
Would Hernandez be a good addition to Arsenal's squad?
Bayer took a chance on Hernandez last summer, and their gamble has paid off in a big way, as they seem to have found their star striker for the foreseeable future. The Germans have no reason whatsoever to sell just months after making the investment, even if £25 million would be a nice fee for Chicharito.
It's worth pointing out Hernandez was never a Premier League flop, but limited chances held him back in England. There's every reason to believe he would be productive for the Gunners―although he's unlikely to score at the same rate he does in Germany.
Throwing £25 million at a player who's been in form for a couple of months isn't Arsenal's style, however, and since he's ineligible to play, it makes more sense to see whether he can keep his good run going in the second half of the season.
If he does, a summer move may become a possibility, although Leverkusen will be just as keen to keep hold of him. A January move seems highly unlikely, however.