Javier “Chicharito” Hernández may have only ended his stay in the Premier League just over two months ago, but his early form for Bayer Leverkusen has been so impressive that he has already caught the eye back in England, according to reports. The Mexico international striker ended his five-year stay at Manchester United in August, when moving to Germany’s Bundesliga for a fee of £8.75 million. But, per ESPN and other sources, he is now firmly on Chelsea’s radar heading into the January transfer window.
Hernández has been prolific for Leverkusen, scoring eight goals in his last six games for Roger Schmidt’s side, while only Cristiano Ronaldo has more than his four Champions League goals this season. After several seasons where he spent more time on the bench than on the field, at both Manchester United, and last season on loan at Real Madrid, the 27-year-old is thriving with regular playing time.
So much so, it seems, that one of Europe’s biggest clubs is again keen on his services. Chelsea’s interest would make some sense. Through 12 games, the club has made the worst start to the season for a defending champion in the history of England’s top division. On Saturday they suffered their seventh defeat, when going down 1-0 at Stoke City.
There have been numerous problems for Jose Mourinho’s side, but one of those has been their inability to score goals. Chelsea have scored just 16 goals in the Premier League, with five of those coming form set-pieces and a further two being own goals. Leading striker Diego Costa has scored just twice, while alternative front men Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy have just one goal between them.
ESPN reports that Chelsea are determined to land a striker in January, with Hernández and Valencia’s Spanish international Paco Alcacer the potential targets. Hernández, as a lethal poacher in the penalty box, would offer a useful option for Chelsea.
And it is not difficult to see that there would be plenty about a potential move to Stamford Bridge that would appeal to Hernández. While they are currently enduring a torrid time, they are a club that has been among Europe’s elite for a number of years, landing the Champions League title in 2012. Whether under Mourinho or a new manager, few doubt that Chelsea will soon get back to the top. And Hernández has previously enjoyed an impressive time in the English Premier League, scoring 13 times in his debut season.
But the former Chivas player has also experienced the potential perils of being at one of the world’s giant clubs, with the finances to regularly recruit some of the world’s finest players. Hernández’s playing time gradually decreased at Old Trafford, leaving him to make just 15 league starts in his final two seasons there. At Real Madrid, his dream move was soon soured as he made just seven starts in La Liga. Toward the end of his time at the Spanish giants, Hernández made it clear that he now needed to be somewhere where he would get regular playing time.
He has now found that at Leverkusen, and is taking full advantage of the opportunity. His increase in minutes for his club and the extra sharpness it has given him on the field has been evident in his performances for Mexico, not least when netting in the dramatic 3-2 victory over the United States in a Confederations Cup playoff last month. Regardless of the sizable draw of a club of Chelsea’s pedigree, he would be surely be putting those gains at risk with a transfer to Stamford Bridge.