Javier Hernandez – Chicharito for, well, short – has suggested that he may have to leave Manchester United in January to obtain first team football, especially with the World Cup next year. Mexico have struggled in the qualifiers and Hernandez’s five goals in 15 matches may leave him top scorer for El Tri but may not be enough to guarantee him a starting place.
At United, with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney’s repatriation to the fold and the progress of Danny Welbeck, Hernandez seems to be falling further down the pecking order. Chicharito was an apparent favourite of Sir Alex Ferguson who, only in March, said he would not be allowed to leave despite his lack of playing time. However, under Moyes, the Mexican has played only 166 minutes of football, including only one start and two substitute appearances in the league. Hernandez’ frustration would appear to be growing.
There were rumours linking Spurs to Hernandez in the summer and his statement has reignited the rumour mill. Despite Spurs’ relatively good start to the season, the main problem has been scoring goals – hence the stories. The Little Pea is undoubtedly a good striker. Despite his size he is good in the air, he has quick feet and is a good finisher – a goal poacher. Just what Spurs need then? Probably not.
Spurs already have a good finisher in Jermain Defoe, the archetypal fox in the box who has been struggling for game time and goals himself. Spurs also have Emmanuel Adebayor and of course Roberto Soldado. The ex-Valencia hitman has scored goals at each club he’s been at, resulting in Spurs playing £26m for him. Even if one of Adebayor or Defoe left in January would Hernandez get more first team starts, ahead of Soldado? Again, probably not.
Spurs set up in a 4-2-3-1, the lone front man being used not just to contribute goals but to hold the ball up, to bring in and move defenders to create space for teammates. This is an area where Defoe has attracted criticism for being one dimensional. It may be difficult to envisage how Hernandez could bring anything different to Spurs’ play. Arguably if Spurs wanted an alternative they would look at someone who could bring a different aspect to the play – strength and heading prowess, more a Christian Benteke or Romelu Lukaku type player.
However, the temptation appears to be that if Spurs are not scoring then the problem is the striker. Perhaps the real problem is the service, not the forward himself. Of the players supplying the forward – Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson – only Sigurdsson was a first team player last season. Add to that Soldado is new too and the problem may be more one of integration.
The more playing time gained the quicker the integration and January may be too early to judge if another striker is needed. Even if it is, arguably Hernandez is not the answer.
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