Reigning La Liga champions Atlético Madrid could be about to strengthen their squad with the signing of Manchester United's Mexican striker Javier Hernández.
The 26-year-old is a firm favourite of United's supporters, but his diminishing role at the club means he will be headed for pastures new this summer.
Hernández joined Manchester United from Mexican side Guadalajara in 2010, for a fee of £6.6 million. His first season in Manchester saw him net thirteen league goals in just fifteen starts, as well as four goals in the Champions League.
The Mexican international, known as Chicharito, established a reputation as a potent poacher, although a starting role was hard to come by at Old Trafford. In the 2011/12 campaign, Chicharito once again offered efficiency in front of goal, however his role as a starter was limited. Rather than improve, Hernández saw less game time in the subsequent two seasons, starting a combined total of fifteen games.
The arrival of Robin van Persie, coupled with the integration of Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney's role as an undisputed starter ensured Hernández's major impact was often off the bench.
Diego Simeone was forthright in his analysis of Hernández, leaving the press in little doubt as to his desire for the Mexican, "he’s a vertical player, he’s great in one-on-one situations and he’s someone who could be useful to any team".
The 26-year-old's game is characterised by unbounded energy, a quality that probably led to Manchester United unwillingness to sell for so long. Hernández's personality will endear him to Diego Simeone, who's teams are notable for their work-rate and ruthless pressing.
Where will he fit in?
With Inter Milan also chasing Hernández, the transfer is by no means a foregone conclusion. If the Mexican, capped sixty-six times by his country, does join Atléti, he may have a tough time getting into the first-team.
Simeone wasn't afraid to use a 4-4-2 formation last season, in which case Hernández would be the perfect foil for new signing Mario Mandzukic, however if the Argentinian decides to proceed with a variation of a 4-2-3-1 formation, Hernández would once again find himself playing the understudy, unless Simeone opts to use him in a wide-role.
This is not beyond the realms of possibility. Simeone utilised both David Villa and Adrián in wide-forward roles last season, and with Hernández's work-rate and honesty, it isn't something he would shirk.
To leave Manchester United, Hernández should really be looking for a club where he will be the focal-point. This won't be the case at Atlético. A fantastic squad player he is, but an undisputed starter he isn't, so it will be intriguing to see where the Mexican's next steps take him.
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