Sad news for British Chicharito fans, as Javier Hernandez has signed a three-year contract with Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. The Mexican striker completed his loan contract with Real Madrid, and was on the bench for United’s 2-1 loss against Swansea City on Sunday but last started for the team more than a year ago.
Bayer Leverkusen unveiled Hernández at a press conference on Tuesday where he said: “I want to go back to feeling important and happy. I want to find happiness. Bayer made me feel important and loved and coming here was not a difficult decision to make. They made me feel wanted.”
During his loan period at Real Madrid, he scored nine goals – including the winner in their Champions League Quarter-Final against their rivals Atlético – but Louis van Gaal clearly had no mind to try to retain the striker. Hernández continued: “I want to help and achieve important things. I have felt very loved. I hope to accomplish things in my head and in my heart.”
To be honest, Chicha has not really hit his peak yet. He was labelled a “super-sub”, and for him to grow further as a player, he will need more experience and a lot more playing time. The 27-year-old has started just 23 league matches since the summer of 2012 for Manchester United and last year at Real Madrid. And that, for an international player in his prime, proven in Europe and largely injury-free, represents a terrible lack of action.
This move will help him achieve all the things that he could not at Manchester United. At Bayer Leverkusen, Hernandez has a chance of getting rid of that “super-sub” tag since his arrival in Europe in the summer of 2010.
Admir Mehmedi and Stefan Kiessling will prove to be competition, but Chicha will be expecting to start and carry a large share of the responsibility for the team’s goal scoring. It is a responsibility that he has missed in recent years, and will be looking to play that role with flair.
Hernandez will be a key figure for Roger Schmidt’s side, more than he ever was under David Moyes, Carlo Ancelotti or Louis van Gaal. Of Hernandez’s options in departing Manchester, another key factor was that he would be playing in one of Europe’s top leagues. He did get offers from the MLS earlier this summer, but Hernandez will gain valuable experience in the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen’s style is most likely to suit Chicha. The quick and targeted style of Schmidt will be in tune with Hernandez, who likes to get early balls into the box and behind the defence to take advantage of his movement. Due to Van Gaal’s systematic possession and gradual build-up of play, Hernandez barely got a chance to play and found it difficult to shine, whenever he played under Van Gaal. For the Bundesliga and Bayer Leverkusen, there will be attention from Mexico and the United States. Signing Hernandez is a huge deal, with the player not short of interest.
On the whole, Chicha to Leverkusen might sadden the United fans, but for him personally, it was a good and much-needed move. Here’s to hoping he succeeds at Bayer Leverkusen!