The future of Javier “Chicharito” Hernández remains very much up in the air, but it appears, at least for now, that one place he won’t be plying his trade next season is Major League Soccer. The Mexico striker is currently on a season-long loan at Real Madrid from Manchester United, but it is widely expected that his long-term future lies away from both European giants. With that in mind, MLS made an ambitious approach to try and bring the 26-year-old to North America in the summer, according a recent report from Goal.com. Hernández, though, is said to have rejected the approach.
MLS has made significant strides in recent years. Just this week, the league agreed to a deal to add U.S. international and Sunderland forward Jozy Altidore to Toronto FC. The Canadian team already has U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley on its books, while international teammate Clint Dempsey, World Cup winner David Villa and -- in theory -- Chelsea’s record goal-scorer Frank Lampard have all signed up to the league in the past 18 months.
The competition is clearly getting stronger on the field. In financial terms, too, Hernández would likely command a salary at least equal to anything he will make by staying in Europe for next season. Certainly, signing the former Chivas de Guadalajara man would be quite a coup for any MLS side. The large Mexican populations in cities where a number of MLS teams are based would spark huge attention with the arrival of one of Mexico’s most prolific players.
From Hernández’s point of view, though, the move is considerably less exciting. While it has made considerable strides, MLS would be a significant step down from the elite competition he has grown accustomed to in Europe and would represent an odd career choice for a player at the stage of his career when, in theory, he is entering his prime.
The main issue for Hernández in recent times is that he has not been enjoying much competition of any kind. The livewire predator with an infectious love for the game and for goals made a big impact upon arrival at Manchester United in 2010. His form led to him starting the Champions League final in 2011 and he backed it up by getting into double figures once more in the Premier League the following season. But he fell down the pecking order after Robin van Persie’s signing in the summer of 2012 and then has seemingly failed to endear himself to both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
Late in the transfer window last summer he was allowed to join Real Madrid in what Hernández deemed a “dream” loan move. However, he has, predictably, again struggled for minutes. Indeed, he has started just once in La Liga and didn’t feature at all in their recent Club World Cup triumph. There is next to no chance that Madrid decide to make his move permanent and, seemingly only slightly better odds that he remains at Manchester United into what will be the final year of his contract.
That looks even more likely to be the case given that Hernández has understandably revealed his desire to be at a club that can provide assurances about his place in the team. A move to the U.S. would surely provide that, but, despite his lack of game time in the past few seasons, Hernández is unlikely to be short of suitors in Europe. Perhaps they won’t be at the same level as global giants Manchester United or Real Madrid, but the likes of Juventus, Valencia and Tottenham, all previously credited with an interest, represent a better career move than MLS for a player who, if he can rediscover his confidence and fire, still has much to offer.