Javier “Chicharito” Hernández’s dream move to Real Madrid has turned sour so rapidly and to such a degree that he may not even see out the full year of his loan move, according to latest reports. Italian side Lazio are weighing up an approach to end the Mexico striker’s loan and potentially his stay at parent club Manchester United by bringing him to Rome in January, reports Madrid-based sports daily Marca.
After new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal deemed him surplus to requirements at the start of the season, Hernández was given the chance to join the club he supported as a child in Guadalajara and to get a shot at some much needed first-team action. But while Real Madrid have enjoyed a record-breaking run of form and Hernández has got his hands on the Club World Cup, he has been seen increasingly rarely on the pitch.
The 26-year-old has made just five starts in total for the European champions, only once in La Liga, and worryingly even his substitute appearances have dried up of of late. Indeed, Hernández has seen just 10 minutes of action since the Champions League win over Ludogorets on Dec. 9. With the return from long-term injury of young home-grown forward Jesé Rodríguez, Hernández has slipped further down the pecking order. When Real Madrid were desperate for a goal in their Copa del Rey tie against local foes Atlético Madrid two weeks ago, Hernández remained rooted to the substitute’s bench. No player is particularly happy to earn the tag “super-sub,” as Hernández did at Manchester United, but right now he is not even that.
With Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, James Rodríguez and Isco and now Jesé all vying for forward spots, there appears little chance of his situation altering. But, while he has shown little faith in Hernández’s abilities on the pitch, manager Carlo Ancelotti has always spoken highly of the former Chivas de Guadalajara man’s attitude in training. And, while he may not need him now, the Italian will doubtless be wary of allowing Hernández to leave just in case he is required in what Madrid hope will be a packed run in to the end of the season.
That is the word from Marca, which reports that Real Madrid have told Lazio that Hernández is not going anywhere this month. The fact that Ronaldo picked up a two-match suspension for his sending off against Cordoba at the weekend could well reinforce the thought that it would only take one or two injuries or disciplinary issues for Madrid to be grateful for Hernández’s presence. And Real Madrid will have little desire to bring in someone else to replace Hernández at this late stage of the January transfer window. Regardless of Real Madrid's stance, it is also highly doubtful that Hernández would be able to move anywhere in January, with FIFA rules forbidding players for appearing for more than two clubs in a season.
Despite his lack of playing time, Hernández is not the type of character to kick up a fuss and demand a move. In the summer, however, it is likely to be a different story. It’s clear that he won’t be signing for Real Madrid on a permanent basis and his future at Manchester United, where his contract has less than 18 months to run, appears similarly bleak.
Hernández has made it known that, wherever he is playing next season, an assurance that he will be seen as a first-team regular is key. Lazio, a team on the rise who are pursuing Champions League qualification, could well offer that as well as fulfilling his ambitions. But they are unlikely to be his only suitors. In the Premier League, Tottenham have long been seen as a potential destination, while there is also thought to be interest in Spain, from Valencia. He is thought to have already rejected the chance to move to Major League Soccer in the United States.