Southampton have grabbed a lot of headlines this summer. They have undergone a managerial change, with a majority of players being sold and there is confusion about the future direction of the club, with some even tipping them for relegation. That might be a little bit over the top as Saints still have a good manager, a decent squad and an excellent academy which will provide more players this season, plus they have a lot of money which will surely be spent over the next month. Despite the many departures, players will still be attracted to Southampton as they will want to play under Ronald Koeman, and it’s an opportunity to shine in the Premier League.
In recent days, Javier Hernandez has been linked with a move to the South Coast and although he would cost upwards of £10m, he would be a shrewd investment as he guarantees goals. His career has stalled of late, with a lack of first team football at Manchester United leading to the Mexican playing only a minor role at the World Cup. He will be keen to get regular first team football to relaunch his career as one of the most natural goal scorers in the world. Although he would like to be playing at a higher level, a year or two at Southampton could result in a move to another of Europe’s elite.
He is only 26, but his game revolves around his pace and movement, which means he will peak sooner than more physical strikers. It’s crucial he moves to play first team football to ensure his career doesn’t fizzle out at Old Trafford and he would be a key player for Southampton. He has scored 37 league goals in 101 games for Manchester United, which is an impressive tally considering the majority of those appearances came from the bench. His international strike rate is even more impressive as he has netted 36 times in 66 caps. These stats show Hernandez to be a natural goalscorer and his poaching style of play means he gets plenty of chances in front of goal. His signing would lead to Southampton changing their style of play as he is very different to Rickie Lambert, while Koeman could opt to play two strikers, partnering Hernandez with the more physical Graziano Pelle.
Last season wasn’t a great one for the Mexican striker, as he only started six league matches, coming on in a further 18 games. He only found the net on four occasions, while he assisted three times. His minutes per goal was 210, which is still very good considering he was only a back up. Furthermore his shooting accuracy (61%) and chance conversion (22%) are up there with the best strikers in the league. It will be fascinating to see what the striker could do given a starting berth in a Premier League side.
Southampton desperately need to sign some players before the start of the Premier League season in two weeks time. Their squad at the moment is lacking in quality and they must have ambitions of staying well clear of the relegation zone. Ronald Koeman may change the style of play to make the side more functional, but given his footballing past, the side should still be an attractive one. A move for the Javier Hernandez will be one that benefits all parties, with Manchester United getting a fair amount of money for a squad player, Southampton getting a natural and proven goalscorer in the top flight, while Hernandez would be moving to a side which would give him the first team football he craves.