Undoubtedly a player of considerable talent, Javier Hernandez finds himself sitting on the sidelines as his team, Manchester United continue to struggle for consistency. The Mexican striker has been mostly overlooked by new boss David Moyes, who appears reluctant to deviate from the Van Persie/Rooney front pairing. Whilst Ferguson was the prophet of squad rotation, Moyes prefers to stick with a team and run with it. It’s frustrating times for the player nicknamed “Chicharito” or “Little Pea” who would prefer a starting berth than a place on the bench. Rumours around the player’s general happiness suggest that he is looking towards January’s transfer window as a potential time to call it quits at Old Trafford.
One potential destination for Hernandez could be Arsenal, which might not be a bad option. The Gunners have been on fire this season, finally starting to look like true contenders again, with Wenger making some smart choices that are now paying off. With the acquisition of Mezit Ozil and the re-emergence of Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal now has one of the best midfields in Europe and with a solid defence are pushing for honours on all fronts. Upfront Oliver Giroud has been a revelation, after a slow start to his career in the Premiership the Frenchman is now looking like the player he was at Montpellier – powerful and forceful in front of goal, strong with the ball at his feet or in the air and an accomplished finisher. But Arsenal’s only weakness and something that has haunted them for years is strength in depth. If Giroud was ruled out with a long term injury, Arsenal would be exposed up front. Yes they have options in the form of Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner, German front man Lukas Poldoski and South Korea’s Chu Young Park, but none of the trio has looked comfortable playing as the solo striker in Wengers chosen 4-2-3-1 formation. Hernandez would offer that comfort to Wenger and a lot more.
At 25, Hernandez still has his best years ahead of him and with a likely price tag of around $12million, is a compelling option for Wenger. The Arsenal manager is also examining a potential loan move for Juventus striker Fernando Llorente but a move for Hernandez would be more appealing. Llorente caught the media’s attention in Spain with some fine performances for Athletic Bilbao which earned him a move to Italy but the player has failed to settle and has looked out of sorts alongside former Manchester United and City striker Carlos Tevez. At 6ft 3in, he is in a similar mode to Giroud but Wenger realizes that he could only play as a replacement for the French striker and not alongside him. Hernandez however at 5ft 7in offers more options with the ability and pace to play as a lone striker or potentially as a strike partner to Giroud. Whist Wenger doesn’t like to adjust his system, having the ability to go to a 4-4-2 formation or a 3-5-2 is a huge draw for the experienced coach. Hernandez has shown in his time for United that he can score all types of goals from tap ins to headers to long range strikes and links up well with creative players, something that Arsenal have in abundance.
For Hernandez, keen to secure regular club football to protect his place in the national team, it could be the perfect move. With the quality of movement and service he can expect at Arsenal, opportunities to score will come thick and fast. Joining the gunners, he would quickly become the 2nd striker which considering he has slipped down the United pecking order to 4th behind Van Persie, Rooney and Welbeck, is certainly something to consider. He would face the backlash of the United faithful who would see a move to arch rivals Arsenal as a sign of disrespect but many others have made the transition and survived so Hernandez can too. His love and respect for the club that brought him to England and gave him his chance on the bigger stage is evident but if the club cannot guarantee first team football and is willing to sell him, then he must go for the sake of his career. If Arsenal can pull off his signature in January, it will be yet another great piece of business for Wenger, already basking in the glory of the Ozil transfer. Hernandez would likely be an instant success and could quite conceivably return to Old Trafford as an Arsenal player and haunt Moyes, something that the Scotsman is well aware of. He will be reluctant to sell the Little Pea to the Gunners but letting an unhappy player leave for the sake of the wider group will be more important to Moyes than where Hernandez ends up.