Is there a Little Pea on the Arsenal Menu? By Dave
It is reported in the Daily Mirror and the Sun that Javier Hernandez has had enough of freezing his bo**ocks off, up in the North West while sitting on the bench at Old Trafford.
Since the arrival of Robin Van Persie and the emergence of Danny Welbeck, Hernandez has often found himself reduced to the role of spectator.
United, like most teams in the EPL, now use a system whereby there is only one main central striker, with other attackers joining in from the flanks, or running through, in a more fluid system, with another attacker playing ‘in the hole’ or the ‘No10 role’, just behind or off the main striker. Because Hernandez neither has the height or physical presence to trouble some of the huge EPL defensive units, it’s difficult for him to play the role of main striker.
In a fully fit Manchester United team, this central role would be filled by either of the hugely experienced Van Persie or Rooney, both of whom can physically impose themselves on opposing defences and score goals. These are understudied by Welbeck, who is also tall and physically imposing. So where does this leave Hernandez?
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It’s obvious that the plum role for Hernandez is ‘in the hole’, where he can use his movement and positional sense to play off the main striker, feeding off the loose balls that come through the general run of play, arriving late on the back post, getting in and around the defenders and making a general nuisance of himself. To me he plays this role to perfection and is always in positions to get on the end of balls to either convert himself or knock it back to a better positioned teammate.
Under the status quo presently at United, the attack would be, Welbeck right flank, Januzaj left flank, Rooney ‘in the hole’ with Van Persie as the main striker. Kagawa is also a candidate for the Rooney role and appears lately to be ahead of Hernandez in the pecking order.
I like Hernandez as a footballer and as a professional. He doesn’t go running to the press every 5 minutes to whinge about how he is being treated at United. Anyway, it’s not that United are treating him badly, it’s just the manager’s preferred selection and formation and that’s just football. Only 11 players can take the field.
The signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea is further bad news for Hernandez. United won’t spend £37m on Mata to leave him on the bench and he will operate somewhere around Rooney. So what are the options for Hernandez now, because things are looking bleak?
To me, he has no option but to leave Old Trafford, or find himself playing the Michael Owen role, turn up for training, play the odd cup game or 5 minutes at the end of a meaningless game that’s already been won and pick up your cheque, until you’re so forgotten that when your contract ends you go play in the MLS or for Stoke City (apologies to Stoke fans in advance).
Hernandez is too young and too good a player for that and I think that Arsenal made a mistake in not making him a part of the Van Persie deal that took RVP to Manchester and missed an opportunity to sign a proven ‘fox in the box’, but it may not be too late for Hernandez and Arsenal to get together.
With the way that Arsenal play, they create chance after chance after chance, most of which come to nothing and with all due respect to Ollie G. (I love the big fella’), he just isn’t clinical enough in front of goal. However in his defence, I don’t think he was bought to be that type of player.
Arsenal doesn’t have a clinical finisher in their ranks and most of the Arsenal attack are gifted goal creators, who chip in with the odd goal themselves. How often have we seen Giroud just missing a low cross, or taking on defenders and losing out because he has run into a blind alley? With a player like Hernandez playing alongside him, it would give Giroud more options and someone like Hernandez, who’s game is all about goal-scoring, would see the opening possibilities and take up positions that ‘midfielders’ wouldn’t see. Hernandez is, like Santi Cazorla, two footed and is terrific in the air for a man of only 5’ 9”. He would also draw defenders away from O.G. and, in turn, would create more space for him.
Hernandez is valued at around £13m – £15m, which, in the current market, represents great value. He is what we used to call a ‘sniffer’ type of player and to me he is just what Arsenal need to convert those chances that are lost for the want of a more clinical eye.
I have read comments on various sites from United fans who say he’s “not the same player”, that he has “lost his first touch” and that “he’s had opportunities and not taken them”, but I totally disagree with this. If a player is not playing first team football, yes they will lose their touch and match sharpness, but the only way to regain this sharpness is with a run of games. I have watched Hernandez lately and he still gets into dangerous positions that give him a chance of scoring, he whole-hearted and always does his best for the team.
The problem is would United sell to Arsenal? I think that on this occasion that they might.
Hernandez is surplus to requirements at United, who are in the process of rebuilding their squad. United have no realistic chance of winning the league and are out of both domestic cups. The sale of Hernandez could free up much needed transfer funds and with the transfer window about to slam shut, United need to move quickly to bring in reinforcements to shore up positions where they are particularly weak. United’s only hope is a good run in the CL, if only to restore the squad and fans confidence (and perhaps keep the manager in employment). United can always make it a provision of any sale that ‘Chicarito’ cannot play against them this season, thus avoiding any possible egg-on-face scenarios.
I think that Arsne should shake off the cobwebs and dust from the Transfer fund cheque-book and make an offer for ‘little-pea’. The worst thing that can happen is that United say no. I think that Hernandez could be the missing piece of the puzzle that could bring the EPL title back to the Emirates and at only 25 he could go on to become an Arsenal great of the future under the guidance of Wenger.