Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter recently revealed that the team is still willing to add another attacking piece to the team’s roster this season and, if reports in the international media are to be trusted, it could be a big one.
According to Mexican website Futbol Total, the Black & Gold are one of the five MLS teams interested in acquiring the services of the striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. The other franchises mentioned in the report are the Los Angeles Football Club, Real Salt Lake, D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids.
Hernandez, 29, is currently playing for West Ham in the English Premier League, but he has not been one of the primary options of head coach David Moyes this season. The Mexican was used in 30 of the team’s 45 matches this season, having scored eight goals.
The rumors connecting Chicharito, who has also played in Mexico, Germany and Spain, to MLS have been running for years, with the LA Galaxy and Orlando City among the most common speculated destinations in the past.
The striker’s current market value is estimated in over $20 million, the same price West Ham paid to get him from Bundesliga’s Bayer Leverkusen last summer. It’s unclear if a move could happen now or just after the FIFA World Cup, in which Chicharito is expected to play as the starting striker for the Mexican National Team.
In either case, this transfer seems very different from the ones Crew SC has traditionally pursued as the team has mostly focused on young South Americans, such as Artur and Milton Valenzuela, or veterans coming from Europe at lower price tag, as Pedro Santos and Jonathan Mensah.
Additionally, unless Chicharito for some reason accepted a contract similar to the one Zlatan Ibrahimovic took with the LA Galaxy, he would take a Designated Player spot on Crew SC’s roster. The team has its three slots already filled, but could probably buy the contracts of one of Valenzuela, Santos or Federico Higuain down with Allocation Money.
With that said, you can color us skeptical that you will be seeing Chicarito in black and gold.