After just two seasons in the Bundesliga with Bayern Leverkusen, Mexico’s footballing icon and former Guadalajara, Manchester United & Real Madrid striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández has joined West Ham on a three-year contract, as we caught up with Raul Barraza (@TheColorfulKit) from FMF State of Mind for his thoughts on the club’s new arrival.
Q: It's no secret that West Ham have been in the market for a striker now for some time, we wanted a well renowned finisher who could score 15-20 goals a season - do you think we get that with Chicharito?
It really depends on the cast around Chicharito. The reason he was so successful at Bayer was their style of play and their playmakers. It was a perfect team for the Mexican International and they provided him with many chances. He is the type of player who gets on the end of great chances with his movement off the ball. If West Ham can surround him with playmakers, Chicharito will get open.
Q: Although not as young as he once was, do you consider the 29-year-old to be in the peak of his career?
I would say he is at his peak right now. I wouldn't argue too much if someone said he was at the tail end of his peak but he can still ball. His second season at Leverkusen was not as prolific as his first but he still averaged a G+A every 129.64 minutes. That was accomplished on a team that was falling apart, fired their coach and flirted with relegation for a bit. He won't turn 30 until next summer and is a “young 29.” His seasons as a super-sub for United and Real kept him from logging heavy minutes.
Q: Over the past few weeks, it’s been well documented his release clause could have been as low as £13-16 million, do you see that as a steal in the current market for someone of Hernandez' quality?
In the current market? Absolutely. West Ham didn't have to pay the “EPL Tax” when buying Hernandez. It appears to me that anytime an English club is interested in a player, the asking price goes up, regardless of the quality of player. Buying Chicharito for a fee in the low teens is a steal this summer.
Q: He's always found a niche for scoring consistently and effectively wherever he's been, do you think it will take time for him to settle in or will he have an immediate impact straight away?
Most foreign players take some time to get adjusted to the new lifestyle in their new country but that should not be an issue with Chicharito. He speaks English fairly well and has played in the league before. He should be ready to make an impact the moment he gets to the club. His biggest adjustment will be to his new teammates and the coach.
Q: While not known as a hold up striker do you think Chicharito has what it takes to be the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1?
Although he is known as a poacher, Chicharito has added other elements to his game. Can he be a player who can hold the ball up and wait for teammates? Yes. Can he do it for 90 minutes week in and week out? I don’t think so. His strength is his ability to play off his teammates. However, that doesn't mean he has to have a second striker with him. At Bayer he sometimes had a taller, stronger striker but mostly had attacking midfielders who pushed into the attack with him. Bayer played a 4-2-3-1 formation and Chicharito flourished but his teammates were never far from him. You cant put him on an island and expect him to be truly effective.
Q: What do you believe he can bring to West Ham United?
GOALS. West Ham scored 47 goals last season in 38 games. The club needs a goal scorer and Chicharito will be itching to add to his career total of 37 EPL goals. Also, he brings excitement and eyeballs to the club. He has over 8 million twitter followers, nearly 8 times what the official West Ham account has. He also brings a great attitude and reputation to the club. You would be hard pressed to find a teammate say a bad word about him.
Q: Lastly, is their anything else you feel that needs to be said about the signing?
All bias aside, I think it's a great signing for West Ham. The price is low and the reward could be high. He left United on a bad note and wants to taste success in England again. He is motivated and should bring goals to the London Stadium.