For five years Mexican international striker Javier Hernandez was a part of Manchester United furniture.
That was until the arrival of Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014 when he left for a loan spell at Real Madrid.
Chicharito as he is affectionately known was one of the sharpest finishers in the Premier League, but for much of his time in England he was underrated and underused.
His time at United finished in the summer when Van Gaal sanctioned a move to Bayer Leverkusen.
In Germany Hernandez has been a first team regular and netted 18 goals in all competitions for the German side this season already. He is currently odds of 66/1 to top the Bundesliga scoring charts.
A renowned super-sub
Despite winning the fans Player of the Year award in his first campaign with the club he struggled to establish himself as a first team starter. The most league appearances the Mexican star ever made at the club came in season 2011/12.
The striker became known as a super-sub, as he came off the bench when United really needed a goal. Unfortunately the tag of super-sub is sometimes hard to shake off and Hernandez failed to do so at Old Trafford.
He was often considered back-up to more high-profile strikers and his loan move to Real happened after the arrival of the high-profile Radamel Falcao on-loan.
Unfortunately Hernandez also struggled to hold down a regular spot in Madrid due to the presence of Karim Benzema. The striker made 31 appearances in La Liga and the Champions League, but only ten appearances were from the start.
Feeling valued by his club
Hernandez recently revealed that he stood very little chance of playing for United as a striker on his return to the club in the summer by telling Movistar: “I spoke with Van Gaal and he said that I only had a one per cent chance of playing in my position, so I headed to Bayer.
“I felt confident from the very first day. I feel important, not just because of my goals, but because I feel that I’ll start every game”.
It does not need Sherlock Holmes to work out that Hernandez’s form this season has been because he feels important at Bayer. A striker strives on confidence and constantly being on the substitute’s bench is unlikely to give a player confidence.
The 27-year-old was obviously a talented player and a clinical finisher in front of goal at United. However he was also a player who needed a consistent run of form to find his best form in front of goal.
He is now getting that regular first team football and the inevitable has happened, he is scoring on a consistent basis. Ten goals in the Bundesliga and five in the Champions League this season has proven given the opportunity on a regular basis he can be consistent.
United missing attacking talent
United boss Louis van Gaal was obviously not a fan of Chicharito’s, having allowed the striker to leave the club twice. United’s style of play has been heavily criticised this season, by fans and media alike.
The Red Devils have struggled to score goals at times, as forwards Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney have floundered in front of goal. United look like they need another forward option and if another player had Hernandez’s scoring record this season the Red Devils would probably be interested in signing him in January.
Hernandez’s scoring record seems to point to the fact that the Red Devils have made a mistake in selling the Mexican international in the summer. That seems to be the consensus of the majority of United fans as well.
Even if Hernandez was still at United he probably would not get in the team ahead of Rooney up front anyway, because Van Gaal has stuck with the struggling England captain through thick and thin.
It seems that Hernandez was rated far more highly by the Old Trafford faithful than by his bosses, or the media. However the little Mexican international is thriving in Germany and deserves to be successful. He showed a great attitude at Manchester United and deserved better treatment.
Hernandez has finally been given a proper chance and he is taking it with both hands. Like many United fans have pointed out though the little Mexican may even struggle to score in the current team, so maybe he is better off where he is.
Did Louis van Gaal make a mistake by selling Javier Hernandez?