News dropped this week in England that West Ham United may look to offload Mexico strike star Javier Hernandez, perhaps even listening to offers while the winter transfer window stands open for business.
Such word has predictably kicked up a bit of the old Chicharito-to-MLS scuttlebutt, which got us to thinking: Which MLS clubs would work as landing spots? Of course, his salary demands (not to mention the transfer fee) will be a major stumbling block to any possible deal, but there should be a few teams in the league that will at least consider the benefits of a swoop.
Factoring in need and freedom to make what would surely be a Designated Player deal, we've come up with two clubs in an operating position to jump for Hernandez any time they wish and another three who might be one move away from targeting the forward.
The Rapids have an open DP slot and the desire to sign a top-shelf goal hound. New head coach Anthony Hudson is installing a 3-5-2 system, and it would be very easy to envision the fun buzzing forward Dominique Badji could have running off Hernandez.
One could also see the cultured striker making productive Dick's Sporting Goods Park connections with the likes of Stefan Aigner, Marlon Hairston and Shkelzen Gashi, each of whom provides a different method of set-up.
This is the obvious pick. They've reportedly had talks with him before. LAFC coach Bob Bradley certainly talks like a guy who'd happily take Chicharito in his arsenal. The forward's arrival would make them the undisputed local and league kings when it comes to drawing popularity from El Tri fans, which is no small marketing advantage.
On top of all that, the attack currently features a group of players that one would expect to function well off a true lead striker and no one that should be automatically expected to fill that key role. The top man in that bunch is someone Hernandez knows well, Carlos Vela. The striker scored in six of the 10 Mexico matches they played together in 2017.
Hey, it would also be interesting to see how often and in how many ways he could link up with savvy string puller Benny Feilhaber. In the end, it may just come down to the cost. Though it's true they have some cash to splash, LAFC would prefer a smaller outlay than the fee and wages that have been rumored about in English tabloids this past year.
Columbus Crew SC
As things stand today, Gregg Berhalter & Co. couldn't give chase. However, if Kamara does leave in a trade and they use some of that fresh new Targeted Allocation Money to buy down the DP status of Jonathan Mensah or Pedro Santos, the scene would look very different.
If the West Ham player did somehow land at John Glenn Airport, he could thrive in an attack that likes to lean on opponents by holding the ball. Though in a different way, this is what Mexico tries to do. Hernandez would likely find it just as cozy to run game with Federico Higuain in a side that wreaks area havoc by running at it from every angle.
The StubHub Center gang are definitely in the hunt for a strike star and eager to outshine their new crosstown rivals. However, their first hurdle to any Hernandez approach will be the fact that they have no DP slots available.
The new TAM rules make it much easier for them to buy down a DP player, but there's still no assurance the Galaxy could swing that right now with either Romain Alessandrini or Jonathan dos Santos. All piled up, the outlook is cloudy as to whether the team (also a reported suitor for Kamara) could clear the roster place needed to bring in Chicharito.
What is as clear as a bell is how well he could pay off for the Galaxy, a club with a pretty strong track record of converting mega-signings into jersey sales and titles. The StubHub Center would delight in seeing Hernandez link up with Mexico compadre Giovani dos Santos and flank terror Alesandrini. If that wasn't enough, such a swoop would send a major statement ahead of what is tuning up to be a tense battle for bragging rights in the City of Angels.
Real Salt Lake
This is probably the most far-out destination suggested here, and not just because they don't tend to spend wild amounts at Rio Tinto Stadium. But imagine if you will a world where RSL have shed the big salary of Yura Movsisyan, the guy not so long ago expected to spearhead the RSL offense. He didn't in 2017, which led to stray rumors of a departure.
In this timeline, Real Salt Lake would need a cobra head capable of striking in bunches from the industry provided by some thrilling young attackers. Albert Rusnak and Jefferson Savarino (the club's other DP-players) combined for 13 goals and 19 helpers as wheeling-and-dealing newcomers last season, and Joao Plata would love the space provided by Chicharito's irksome running. The style of Brooks Lennon's game also strikes as one that would initiate connections with the Mexico star.
As nice as it sounds, just leaping into the fray for Hernandez would be a real "WOW!" moment for the franchise.