Players to watch 2017/18 – Hammer Hernandez

It was sad to see him leave the Premier League. Now it is brilliant to have him back. He made such an impact at Manchester United which was unexpected as he came from practically nowhere. Javier Hernandez was a fans favourite at Old Trafford. If he felt any upset regarding his departure from a club he had so much pride in representing he did not show it, he used it to take his game to the next level. He has been away from the Premier League since 2014 when he had a years loan at Real Madrid. After his permanent move away from the Theatre of Dreams he has been creating waves in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen. After a poor season last year West Ham have added a real class goalscorer to their ranks.

Hernandez’s journey to the top really commenced in 2010 when Sir Alex Ferguson swooped for the Mexican striker. United fans were glued to their screens during the World Cup of that year in South Africa to do their own scout report of their new signing. He was used as a substitute during the group phase but made his first start of the competition in the round of 16 against Argentina. Mexico lost 3-1 but their goalscorer was the new United striker. It was a sign of things to come.

His first season in England proved a lot of people wrong. Many said he was too small to lead the line in English football. At the time the reds had a strong set of forwards – Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen were all at the club. This did not deter Chicharito. He made 27 starts for United in all competitions in his first year and returned 19 goals. A great way to introduce yourself. The next season was similar – 22 starts and 12 goals. He offered United’s attack something new. He was a real goalscorer. He popped up in the right area at the right time and when he got his chance his finishing ability was second to none.

Then came Robin Van Persie. This must have been a hit for Hernandez. However, he had similar figures this year – which was a successful one for ‘the Red Devils’. The same amount of starts were achieved by Chicharito but he scored 18 times. Everything changed at Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson left the club. Hernandez was never really David Moyes’ cup of tea. He only started nine times for the new boss being used mainly as a subsititute. He climbed from the bench 23 times that season but he still managed to grab 9 goals. When he plays he scores. He had a great record for the Manchester club.

Then came Louis Van Gaal. If Moyes did not rate Hernandez, Van Gaal went further. Hernandez was allowed to leave United and go for a year to Madrid. He played 32 times for ‘Los Blancos’ returning 9 goals for the Spanish giants. After a relativley successful period on loan it was then end for Hernandez at Old Trafford. Van Gaal under pressure to recoup some of his massive outgoings sold him to Bayer Leverkusen for a reported £8.75 million.

Moving to a club that had less expectation seemed to free up Chicharito. It also meant for the first time since moving to Manchester United he was now at a club that would look at him as a key member of the first team. Vitally this gave the Mexican live wire a chance to step up to the plate, something he is never shy in doing. He was the clubs top scorer in his first season in Germany with 26 goals – the closest competition to him was Karim Bellarabi with 12. In the 2015/16 season he finished behind Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Muller only in the top scorers in the Bundesliga. Last season he managed 13 goals and was once again Bayer Leverkusen’s top goalscorer.

Now he’s moved to London. What can he bring to West Ham? Masses of experience and plenty of goals. At the age of 29 he is certainly a player that ‘the Hammers’ fans will want to come in and hit the ground running. The London based club have certainly made signings that can also contribute to success this season. Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta have all joined and it is an exciting time for West Ham who underachieved last season.

West Ham’s success this season will come down to numerous things. However, Chicharito’s goals will be a huge contribution to anything they achieve. He is more than capable of doing and there will be pressure on him to deliver. This is nothing new for the Mexican. Expect to see him determining games for ‘the Hammers’ this season and perhaps challenging for the golden boot in the Premier League at the end of the year.

Author: Alan Brown

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