Is Javier Hernández Key for Manchester United?

In the last couple of days, many top papers in England have been reporting a possible exit for Manchester United’s Mexican striker, Javier Hernández. The Independent has reported that West Ham United is ready to table a £12 million bid for Hernández, and last month there were reports of a potential move to MLS outfit, Orlando City.

After a year on loan at Real Madrid, where his performances were inconsistent, it is time for Javier Hernández to seize his opportunities in Manchester. Louis van Gaal has stated his desire to see the Mexican striker stay at United, and with the departures of Robin van Persie and an ineffective Radamel Falcao, it would be wise for Van Gaal to keep hold of the ‘Little Pea’.

With the attacking three of Memphis Depay, Wayne Rooney and likely Pedro, who has reportedly been promised a role in the starting XI by Louis van Gaal, Manchester United will most likely be playing a 4-3-3 with one striker – Rooney – and two wingers – Depay and Pedro. With the Champions League, Premier League and domestic cups looming for the upcoming season, it is highly unlikely that Wayne will be playing more than 45 matches and remaining fully fit, and an experienced back-up striker will surely be invaluable.

At the moment, there are three “pure” strikers in the first team: Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernández and James Wilson. Wilson is still playing for the U-21 squad and has yet to achieve substantial play time with the first team, so having someone like Hernández could be key. He might not have the best all-round game but is always a threat in the 18 yard area. Indeed, according to Rio Ferdinand, “when the ball goes wide, he has the best movement in the world.”

As seen in pre-season, particularly against San Jose Earthquakes, Memphis Depay is capable of dropping into the midfield in order to move the ball forward, something that would suit Chicharito’s poaching style. Wayne Rooney tended to track back as well, leaving the forward line empty, which Hernández would likely do less often.

When given full confidence by the manager, Hernández performs at his best. In his first season at United, Hernández managed to bag 20 goals across all competitions. That was the same season in which United reached the Champions League final at Wembley against Barcelona and won the Premier League. Even when he was behind Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney in the strikers’ pecking order for the 2012-13 season, he still bagged 18 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions. Even when mostly coming off the bench, Hernández has still managed 59 goals in 154 appearances as a Manchester United player.

With very few world-class strikers currently available in the transfer market, in addition to Louis van Gaal insisting that Wayne Rooney will play as lone striker, it is illogical to consider an exit for Javier Hernández. When given confidence and opportunities by the manager, he is confident and capable of reaching 15, or even 20, goals in all competitions. With Wayne Rooney being potentially at risk of fatigue and James Wilson lacking sufficient first team experience, “super sub” Javier Hernández could prove to be a refreshing source of goals that could bring trophies back to Old Trafford.