When Manchester United announced that they had signed Javier Hernandez from Chivas Guadalajara in April 2010, it raised many eyebrows as he was virtually an unknown player to the football world.
The deal was announced after United were ousted from the Champions League by Bayern Munich and it was of the opinion that the Red Devils would sign a top star to take them to the next level to challenge for the biggest prize in European football.
It was reported that Hernandez was a promising young striker and his record in Mexico was impressive but there was a huge question if he could do the same in the Premier League week-in week-out. The questions were answered fairly quickly as "Chicharito" - meaning The Little Pea - would go on to perform well for his country in the 2010 World Cup, scoring two brilliantly taken goals as well as being recorded as the fastest player at the tournament.
Hernandez made his first appearance for Manchester United in Houston against MLS All-Stars in a pre-season encounter in front a full house. He was a second-half substitute coming on for Nani and made an immediate impact on the game. He scored a well-taken goal, running off the shoulder of the last defender before latching onto a lobbed bass over the top from Darren Fletcher. It was a wonderful goal as he had to set himself to get into the position to lob the goalkeeper and he did that expertly to mark his first appearance for his new club with a goal.
That goal marked the type of striker Chicharito is, as he always seem to be on the shoulder of the last defender and looking to run in behind the defensive line, stretching the defence and the team in general. Hernandez also went on to score in a match in Mexico where Chivas Guadalajara hosted Manchester United to mark the opening of their new stadium, as that was part of the agreement in the deal when he signed for United.
Hernandez was working hard in training and his team-mates immediately realised that he was a born goalscorer. According to Sir Alex Ferguson, Hernandez was expected to do great things as he had shown signs of being a good striker. "When Javier scored his first goal in Houston, Paul told me after the game that he(Hernandez) would get 25 goals this season," Ferguson said. "Paul is a quiet lad and doesn't say a lot, but he is a fantastic judge."
This shows the level of effort being shown by Hernandez. He had definitely shown that he is very talented and has lots of potential to become a top striker.
The Mexico striker made his official Manchester United debut in the Community Shield against Chelsea. He was a substitute coming on at the start of the second half and scored his first official goal for the club. He darted into the penalty area to pounce on a cross from Antonio Valencia, appeared to kick the ball onto his face and then the ball into went into the back of the net.
It wasn't the prettiest of goals but the important thing is that he got the ball into the back of the net, which is a sign of a goal-poacher.
Hernandez was expected to play a bit-part role for the Red Devils but he worked his way into the starting 11, breaking up the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. Ferguson confirmed that he was not expecting Hernandez to play a huge role in his debut season. "It's been nothing but acceleration by him," Ferguson said. "We tell a lot of our young players to take time to settle in, learn the language and develop physically because it is a physical league. He's now had his breaking-in period and although he could speak English, it is now much better.
"He comes into training every morning at 9am does his own work in the gym, then stays after training with the rest of the players and practises various parts of his game. The boy wants to be a player and the footballing tradition of his family has helped. That gives him an extra encouragement and the urge to do well, which is sensational."
Hernandez went on to score an amazing 20 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils helping them to the Champions League final, which they lost 3-1 to Barcelona at Wembley Stadium. Due to his outstanding debut season, Hernandez was awarded the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award, which is an award for the fan's player of the year.
In the summer leading up to his second season at Old Trafford, Hernandez suffered from a minor concussion after being hit by a ball in the head during training. The Chivas Guadalajara doctor Rafael Ortega then informed Manchester United that Chicharito was suffering from a pre-existing neurological condition as he suffered from acute migraines and headaches as a teenager. That affected his pre-season preparations as he didn't even take part in the Community Shield match against Manchester City.
When he returned to fitness, Hernandez found it tough to get into the team as Danny Welbeck was now emerging and was the first-choice with Rooney as the starting pair. Hernandez, however, made the most of the opportunities he got and gave Ferguson selection headaches with his goals.
He would go on to score just 12 goals in all competitions and most of his appearances were from the bench. Ferguson had blamed his decrease in the number of goals on the heavy summer Chicharito had with the Mexican National Team and therefore didn't get the rest he needed.
This season Hernandez has once again faced a fight for a spot in the team with the arrival of Robin van Persie. Despite being behind the pair of Van Persie and Rooney, Hernandez has managed to score 16 goals in all competitions so far, changing several games for United after coming off the bench.
Ferguson has also said that it is hard to leave him on the bench as he is scoring lots of goals. Ferguson went on to highlight the level of professionalism of Hernandez as a big weapon for his goalscoring form. He had also gotten a lot of rest in the summer as he didn't have any international duties to fulfil. Due to his form in front of goal, Hernandez has reportedly attracted interest from Atletico Madrid as a potential replacement for Radamel Falcao, who seems to be on his was out of the Vicente Calderon.
Since his arrival at The Theatre of Dreams, Hernandez has been scoring lots of goals and is seen as one of the most lethal strikers in the world. He was even attracting interest from Real Madrid which lead Ferguson to offer him a new contract with a significant wage increase to fend off the interest of the Galacticos.
Hernandez is seen as the natural successor to United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because of a similar playing style and their 'baby-face' look. He has made the most of the opportunity and the faith Sir Alex has placed in him and has earned a great reputation in front of goal.
Chicharito is a proven goal-scorer at the highest level in the Premier League, Champions League and on the international stage and those are the type of players the Old Trafford fans want to see wearing the United shirt.
With the Premier League title seemingly wrapped up many will be looking at how United can improve their squad. The Red Devils boast a devastating attack but Robert Lewandowski has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford in the summer.
With four strikers at the club, it would only be logical that if Lewandowski is to move to Old Trafford then a striker would have to be sold. There is no doubt that the Old Trafford supporters would love to see a player of the class and ability of Lewandowski at the club but it's also certain that they want to see Chicharito in the United shirt come next season.
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