Javier Hernandez is currently on loan at Real Madrid for this season, and his long-term future at parent club Manchester United still looks far from secure.
However, the striker still could be more than useful for the Red Devils next season in helping Louis Van Gaal to possess the striking depth needed to mount a Premier League title challenge. The Dutch manager dispensed with Hernandez after the striker participated in the start of the season, including a pre-season tour in the United States.
A late loan move to Real Madrid presented an ideal move for both the Mexican and the Red Devils, with Radamel Falcao joining on loan to bolster Van Gaal’s striking options. At this point many expected Falcao to display his obvious pedigree in the Premier League, meaning Hernandez would almost certainly never appear for Van Gaal’s side again.
Since this point Falcao has largely been a disappointment at Old Trafford, with persistent injury problems unhelpful, whilst Hernandez has been a greater success at Madrid. For both Falcao and Hernandez the future is now rather uncertain, with both still unsure whether their current loan deals will culminate in permanent deals with their new clubs.
Though the attention has largely focused on Falcao, the future of Hernandez is as unclear, as it would be a surprise to see Van Gaal re-integrate the Mexican into his plans for next season.
Hernandez signed a five-year deal in 2011 and though he never became a first-team fixture at Old Trafford, the striker has made plenty of significant contributions – only Solskjear has scored more goals from the bench for the Red Devils.
The 26-year-old could still be a useful asset as a squad player for Van Gaal, particularly given his talent for being an impact substitute. United have struggled in this regard across this season, with James Wilson’s recent goal after coming on against Queens Park Rangers a rare success.
Hernandez, signed for just £7million in 2010 from Guadalajara, first gained worldwide recognition for excellent performances in the World Cup for Mexico in that same year. However, in an absolute masterstroke, Sir Alex Ferguson had already signed the striker, securing him for a great price.
The Mexican striker has been prolific when given an opportunity for United, scoring 17 goals from 69 substitute appearances, an excellent record that is just short of a strike in every four outings.
As a third or fourth striker, Hernandez would match anything any other top Premier League side could offer, and if Van Gaal decides to sell the Mexican, many top European clubs would certainly be interested.
Many of these bidders could be able to offer Hernandez the starting role his talent certainly deserves, and at 26, theoretically entering his peak years, it seems likely he would demand this.
Van Gaal could do far worse than convince the Mexican that he has an important role to play at Old Trafford in helping the Red Devils to compete with Chelsea and Manchester City across all four major trophies next season.
This summer will certainly be intriguing as this tale of two strikers, Falcao and Hernandez, will be resolved concerning their futures at Manchester United. Van Gaal would do well to consider that the Mexican could still be a valuable asset to him going forward.