Following a string of reports over the years speaking of MLS interest in Chicharito, ESPN Mexico says that this time Chicharito may be just as interested in MLS.
Bummed out by a playing time situation at Sevilla that doesn't seem like it will get better, Hernandez is said to be giving the move serious thought. For an array of reasons, it should come as no shock that the purported suitor is the LA Galaxy.
Instead of discussing the likelihood of the Galaxy pulling this swoop off (who knows, right?), let's get ahead of the curve a little and think about how successful the Mexico star might actually be as a genuine MLS Designated Player signing for the five-time champs.
Bigger Than Vela?
Right off the top, his off-field impact is worth discussing.
The Galaxy have decent experience at landing El Tri names, but this would be the biggest Mexico international to ever play for the club.
In fact, as his nation's all-time leading international goal scorer, Hernandez would be a bigger Mexico coup than Carlos Vela. Think about how LAFC's profile has soared while Vela thrills the entertainment capital of the world, which just so happens to have easily the largest community of Mexicans in America. It's been amazing.
Now imagine how Los Angeles would freak out if Chicharito lined up opposite his international brother next season. Oh it would be a scene, man. They can do dueling car company commercials and everything. But fitting into the City of Angels and becoming a legit celeb will be the easy part. The hard part involves figuring out how well he can plug into this Galaxy side on the field.
The obvious question asks how Chicharito can replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The reality is he probably won't replicate the sheer numbers the ultra-productive departed Galaxy put up. They don't have the same methods in attack, and even at his best Hernandez has not matched Ibrahimovic's scoring track record historically. Very few in the world have.
In one facet of the attack, manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto's squad wouldn't have to change much: the Galaxy love to serve crosses into the box. Only one MLS team shipped more last season. So yeah, Chicharito will love that. There's little he enjoys more than getting loose in the area to pounce on a cross. That works for everybody.
The Conjurer and The Spy
However, they'd need to make adjustments elsehwhere, starting by earning more final-third restarts. They were the least fouled team in MLS in 2019 and in the middle of the pack at winning corners.
Additionally, they'd need to use more interplay around the box, combos and through balls and what not to help Chicharito succeed.
Zlatan was a conjurer, right out in the open and often on his own, but Hernandez is a spy. If the Galaxy put him in familiar positions where he can ghost off of defenders, chances are great he'll pay off big in goals. But do they have the cogs to make the necessary alterations?
Let's start with the wide players. Aleksandar Katai has arrived to bookend Cristian Pavon, giving the Galaxy a balanced flank attack. They could win more free kicks, but there should be plenty of ground maneuvers from both wings. Finding more time for Efrain Alvarez to blossom would help LA in both areas of play.
The returning midfield trio of Joe Corona, Sebastian Lletget and Jonathon dos Santos (who knows a thing or two about causing trouble with Hernandez) are joined by fellow veteran Sacha Kljestan. Between the four of 'em, they could likely find ways to unleash Chicharito from the more central channels.
When you run through it all, perhaps the tactical transition wouldn't be that tough after all. Maybe the direction this Galaxy roster is taking has made them a team more suitable for smooth Hernandez integration.
Maybe they should just go ahead and sign him away from Sevilla so we can all find out if the Carson crew can actually win more with someone other than Zlatan as their strike ace. Wouldn't that be fun?