Not even the notorious Mexican press saw this one coming.
Manchester United made history Thursday morning with the announcement that they’ve signed the first Mexican player in club history in 21-year-old Mexican forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández from Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara.
As part of the deal, Manchester United will play in the inaugural match at Guadalajara’s new stadium on July 30. Chivas confirmed that “Chicharito” would play one half for Chivas and one half for Manchester United in that match.
United had also been recently rumored as participating in a U.S. tour involving the MLS All-Star Game.
"I am delighted to reach an agreement with Chivas to bring such an exciting young striker, who has been in such prolific form for both his club and his country,” Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club's official website. “He will be a great addition to our squad and we look forward to welcoming our first Mexican player in the summer.”
Hernández, who came through the Chivas youth ranks, is the sensation of the current Mexican league season and the leading scorer with 10 goals. Although he was a regular with Chivas in 2009, he exploded onto the scene this year with a record eight goals in the first five matches. His success in league play led him to become a starter with the Mexican national team after debuting last September.
“You can guess that were are very happy to be here with 'Chicharo' and with Sir Alex Ferguson,” Chivas owner Jorge Vergara told reporters in a media conference call Thursday (Vergara also owns Chivas USA of Major League Soccer). “This is a historic day for Mexican soccer with Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson deciding to sign our player. Something important is that this allows us to develop a relationship with Manchester United … We know that this is only the beginning of much success.”
Hernández missed the Mexican SuperClásico against Club América on Sunday due to what had been referred to as an injury. Manchester United on Thursday confirmed that Hernández passed a medical this week.
As is the case with American players in Great Britain, Hernández will also have to file for a UK work permit. This should be a formality given he has emerged as a starting forward for the Mexican national team in recent months. He joins the national-team camp for the World Cup which kicks off April 12. This week was supposed to be a “vacation" week for players involved in that camp.
United’s statement says that Hernández officially becomes a Man U player on July 1.