HOLD ON TO HERNANDEZ
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 27 January 2019 at 9:34am
Written by: Adam Lewis
A world class striker being linked with a move away from the club, so should we sell or not? Somehow this isn’t about Arnie (apparently he’ll be back – for now); it’s about Javier Hernandez, who is linked with a move to Valencia. Given his huge salary as well as his limited playing time it would be easy to understand why a move may suit both the player and the club, who would free up around £145k a week in wages.
He may want to leave the club this window in order to get more game time but he has done nothing to rock the boat and continues to get on with the job. If we are looking to build a big club mentality with increasing professionalism then in many ways Hernandez is the model pro and one that younger players can look up to and learn from.
So far this season, despite only starting in 7 league matches, Hernandez has scored 4 times and created another. This compares well to Arnautovic who has 7 goals in 16 matches with 2 assists. Their league goals to minutes ratios are similar with a goal every 186 and 178 minutes respectively. This then needs to be put into the context that Hernandez hasn’t really had a run in the team; something that all strikers benefit from. After all, this is the player with the 5th best goals-to-minutes ratio in the history of the Premier League.
Arguably, with the team’s style of play changing and the uncertainty now surrounding Arnautovic’s attitude, there is a case to be made not just to keep him but to install him as the number one striker. His movement and ability to find space would be the perfect fit for the likes of Nasri, Anderson and the returning Lanzini to thread through balls to and for the player to provide that cutting edge that has been missing at times this year.
His running off the ball pulls defenders out of position and creates space for forward minded midfielders to occupy. He may not have the physical presence of Andy Carroll (although he scored more headers than him last season) but opposition centre backs can’t risk switching off even for a second given the very different challenge that he poses. He is also adept at winning free kicks in advanced positions which creates opportunities from set pieces.
Someone asked the question recently that if it was the last minute of the FA Cup final with us needing a goal to win which player from the last 30 years would you want it to drop to? In that spirit, how about the last minute of a league match with our current crop of players and 12 yards out? It would have to be someone with ability, temperament and natural finishing instincts; it would have to be Hernandez.
So should we cash in on him? Leave our options down to Perez, Carroll and possibly Arnautovic? Unless we can get someone in of similar quality, the answer has to be no.