The talent of Javier Hernandez is receding on the evidence of his spell at West Ham. The Mexican international was once one of the most promising young strikers in Europe, but has failed to fulfil his potential.
Rewind to 2010, Javier Hernandez netted 21 goals in 28 games in the Primera Division, and was prized away from C.D. Guadalajara by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He capped a magnificent year with a memorable 2010 FIFA World Cup.
‘Chicharito’ announced himself on the word stage in South Africa, with goals against global giants France and Argentina. He completed the year with eleven goals in 18 caps for Mexico and made an instantaneous impression at The Theatre of Dreams.
Sir Alex Ferguson utilized him as a squad player mainly, and Hernandez was unable to displace fan-favourite Wayne Rooney from the starting line-up. Hernandez earned himself the reputation as a ‘super-sub’, due to his tendency of emerging from the bench to score important goals.
However, the lack of playing time, especially during the latter stages of his spell at Old Trafford left him frustrated, and he subsequently decided to spread his wings with a move to German side Bayer Leverkusen.
On 31 August, Hernandez confirmed his exit from Manchester United, after scoring 59 goals in 157 appearances in all competitions. Sir Alex Ferguson believed he was a valuable member of the squad, but his spells under David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal were much less satisfactory.
Hernandez reached the double figures during his three seasons under ‘Fergie’ and clinched two English Premier League titles. His ability to break on the last man by utilizing his frightening pace was a beneficial attribute in the final third, but he failed to fit into the systems played by David Moyes and later Louis Van Gaal.
The 29-year-old was backed to eventually succeed Wayne Rooney in the forward role, but his underwhelming return of nine goals in 35 appearances under David Moyes marked the beginning of his downfall.
Louis Van Gaal clearly indicated that Hernandez was surplus to requirements, and offloaded him to Spanish giants Real Madrid on a season-long loan. The end was near for ‘Chicharito’ and he left England with renewed aspirations to revive his career in Germany at the start of the 2015/16 season.
The Mexican international finished his debut season with his record season goal tally. He netted 26 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions and was one of the most prolific strikers in the German Bundesliga.
Bayer’s form declined during his second season, but Hernandez still finished the season with a respectable return of eleven goals in 26 league appearances, despite a series of injuries. He marked his name in Mexican football history too, by becoming the national team’s all-time top goal scorer in May 2017.
It seemed Hernandez was finally flourishing with regular playing time, and a return to the Premier League was proposed in the shape of West Ham United during the summer transfer window. The Hammers’ previously had a poor track record for strikers in recent years, but Bilic was hoping that the 29-year-old would break the curse and improve their dismal goal scoring record.
Hernandez has scored just seven goals in 28 appearances in all competitions this season. He may be their joint-top goal scorer in the Premier League, but his return considering his price tag has been extremely disappointing.
West Ham’s goal scoring woes have also continued this season. The Hammers scored 47 goals last season, and have only managed 37 goals this term. The striker curse is set to continue at the London Stadium, as it seems from early evidence that the once promising Javier Hernandez isn’t the solution to their problems.