Manchester United striker Javier Hernández is expected to leave Old Trafford before the weekend, with Juventus or Valencia the most likely teams to pay the $25 million asking price. The Mexican, affectionately known as “Chicharito” (“little pea”), has failed to live up to the early promise he showed when joined the club. He scored 23 goals in 24 starts and 25 substitute appearances in his first two seasons at United, but now he has two clubs to choose between to further his career. With former United managers Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes rarely using the striker, new boss Louis van Gaal used the U.S. summer tour to reach a decision on whether he would hold onto the player. Hernández impressed and so van Gaal gave the player starts in both the shock opening day defeat to Swansea City and again in the 4-0 thrashing by MK Dons in the League Cup. Hernández was disappointing in both games and so now van Gaal has decided to act.
Juventus are keen to either take the player on loan or on a permanent deal, with United more keen on the latter as they hope to use Hernández as a tool to bring Arturo Vidal to Old Trafford. Spanish side Valencia have also expressed an interest in signing Hernández, but it is understood Juventus is the player’s preferred destination.
Hernández has appeared to be happy being used as an impact player coming off the bench since he joined in from Guadalajara in 2010. However, Ángel Di María’s arrival from Real Madrid, combined with van Gaal’s favorite front pairing of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, has pushed Hernández even further down the pecking order along with England striker, Danny Welbeck.
It has been reported on various TV stations in the UK that Hernández has played his last game for United (against MK Dons), and so a move to either Italy or Spain before the weekend is becoming increasingly likely. A loan deal would suit all parties, as Juventus would get their man, United cut the wage bill, and Hernández gets Champions League football. Yet United will want to do all they can to lure Vidal to Old Trafford and see the Mexican as key to that. Juventus have already turned down an offer for Vidal from United, so van Gaal is likely to go back with a player and cash deal to help change their mind. Despite being wary of Vidal’s injury record, van Gaal recently said in an interview that he was a fan of the player and United needs midfield reinforcements fast.
Despite having an impressive goal record for the Mexico national team, Hernández’s failure to nail down a place at United saw him dropped to the substitute’s bench during the tournament in Brazil. That, if anything, would have been the catalyst for his decision to try somewhere new. If he has any designs on winning back his starting place, Hernández knows he has to leave United sooner rather than later. He will now choose between Juventus and Valencia and make one of them his new home.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd