Javier “Chicharito” Hernández
Javier “Chicharito” Hernández has found playing time difficult to come by at Real Madrid. Reuters

Despite playing and scoring in his second World Cup and achieving a dream of playing for Real Madrid, it is likely that Javier “Chicharito” Hernández will reflect on 2014 as a year of frustration and stagnation. The Mexico striker has spent precious few minutes on the pitch this year, indeed, he has made just four league starts for Manchester United and Real Madrid combined. Even for his country, the 26-year-old has gone from star attraction to having to come off the substitute’s bench in Brazil.

Currently on a season-long loan at Real Madrid from Old Trafford, his future remains in doubt. Hernández may have spoken with giddy enthusiasm upon joining the European champions, but having spent the vast majority of his time at the Bernabeu on the substitute’s bench, he recently declared that he needs assurances over regular playing time wherever he ends up next season.

According to a report from the Daily Star on Sunday, that destination could be AC Milan. The British tabloid states that Manchester United could use Hernández in order to help bring French defender Adil Rami to Old Trafford. With Milan having just loaned out Fernando Torres to Atletico Madrid until 2016, there is, despite the impressive performances in that role of Jeremy Menez this season, a clear need for a striker at the Rossoneri. Hernández, who made such a strong start at Old Trafford and has plenty of time left in his career to rediscover his ravenous quest for goals, could well be a good fit.

It is less clear whether Manchester United would really be considering a move for Rami. While a solid operator who has performed well since joining from Valencia, Louis van Gaal will likely have his sights set higher than the 29-year-old. Borussia Dortmund’s Germany international Mats Hummels has frequently been linked.

It certainly appears that Van Gaal has decided that Hernández has no future at Old Trafford. Hernández started twice under the Dutch coach before being allowed to leave at the end of the summer transfer window, when United also brought in Radamel Falcao on a lucrative loan move from Monaco. Hampered by fitness troubles, Falcao has scored just twice since arriving, and it remains in some doubt whether United will be prepared to pay the massive fee it would take to make the deal permanent next summer. If a transfer doesn’t materialize then Hernández may be seen as an option to boost the club’s striking options, however there appears little chance of him being offered the guarantees of regular first-team action that he seeks.