Sport Soccer

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Comment: Manchester United should replace Falcao with Hernandez

Falcao and (right) Hernandez
Falcao and (right) Hernandez

Manchester United's quest for a striker promises to be one of the transfer sagas of the summer.

With Radamel Falcao having flopped horribly since his year-long loan move from Monaco and Robin van Persie's future uncertain, Louis van Gaal needs a forward who can aid Wayne Rooney and become the 20-goal-a-season player that could propel them to the Premier League title next season.

Burnley's Danny Ings, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and the Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani have all been linked with a move to Old Trafford ahead of next season but the answer to Van Gaal's problems might lie closer to home.

Javier Hernandez served up a reminder of his predatory instincts last night when his goal sealed Real Madrid's 1-0 win in the Champions League quarter-final against their city rivals Atletico.

His wild celebrations - which so irked Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry - were doubtless born out of relief, with the Mexico international having failed to score in the Champions League in two-and-a-half years, but Hernandez remains a genuine threat at the elite level.

Indeed, when his season is compared to the hapless Falcao at United, you begin to wonder whether United should have refrained from loaning 'Little Pea' to the Bernabeu and paying £24 million for the Colombian, whose season has been blighted by problems with form and fitness.

The stats are telling. Both players have played the same number of games - 25 in all competitions - but Falcao has been given lots more minutes, playing 1,339 minutes to Hernandez's 871, underlining how difficult it is to dislodge galactico talent such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Benzema and James Rodriguez.

When it comes to using that time, however, Hernandez is a clear winner, as he produces more goals, shots and assists per minute than Falcao:


And when it comes to the accuracy of their shooting, once again Hernandez is comfortably ahead of the man who replaced him at United.


Whether Van Gaal will be convinced of Hernandez's merits is another matter. The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of next season and it seems unlikely that United would be prepared to let him go for nothing next summer when he could still command a reasonable fee.

With Real Madrid unlikely to extend his deal with them next season, his options appear limited. Orlando City had been keen to recruit him for the MLS, but Hernandez is understood to want to remain in Europe, at a major club.

Given his performance against Atletico - and his effectiveness on the rare occasions he has been given game-time in Madrid - that opinion seems justified.

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