Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted the club will not sell Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez when the transfer window reopens in the summer, despite reported interest from Serie A leaders Juventus and Spanish giants Real Madrid, ESPN FC understands.
Hernandez, 24, has bagged 16 goals and five assists in all competitions for United this season.
However, the Mexico international has not been a regular starter for the Red Devils, and remains behind the likes of Danny Welbeck, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney on United’s depth chart.
Hernandez has started just six Premier League matches this term, while Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck have started 17, 27 and 11 respectively.
The Mexican striker has scored in 53.5% of his league appearances in 2012-13, his highest goal-scoring rate in the Premier League since joining United from Liga MX side Club Deportivo Guadalajara in 2010.
Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck has scored just once in 23 league games, but his ability to play wide-left, wide-right and behind the lone striker have kept him ahead of Chicharito in the pecking order at Old Trafford.
Now then, recent reports have suggested Manchester United could listen to offers for Hernandez in the summer, but Fergie has dismissed any such speculation.
“I’ve said to him it’s not easy to keep leaving him out because a 16-goal tally in the number of games he’s started is a brilliant record,” Ferguson said. “And he’ll always have that because he’s fantastic in the box.
“But it’s difficult when you’re up against a player of Robin van Persie’s form, then you’ve got Welbeck, Rooney, Kagawa – that’s the benefit of having a strong squad.
“He’s on a long contract for starters and we won’t be entertaining any interest. He’s a really important player for us. You see that all the time.
“He does something every game; he changes it. He does something different to the other strikers.”
Hernandez, who has scored seven goals in 10 career appearances against Chelsea, is expected to feature in the Red Devils’ starting XI against Chelsea in Monday’s FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge.
Yilmaz could leave Gala
Galatasaray S.K. manager Fatih Terim has admitted it will be difficult to keep in-form striker Burak Yilmaz at the Türk Telekom Arena, Sky Sports reports.
Yilmaz, who joined Galatasaray from Trabzonspor for a fee of €5 million in July 2012, has bagged eight goals thus far in this year’s UEFA Champions League.
“It’s not going to be easy to keep him,” Terim was quoted as saying in The Observer.
“He has targets but it will be his decision. Being wanted is a good thing, but we are fond of him and believe he will do great things for us in the future.
“He listens. He is 27 but he is still open to learning new things. Burak senses goals. He can score any time and from anywhere. I’m really fond of him, he has been a miracle signing.”
Yilmaz and Galatasaray will travel to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu to take on European powerhouse Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, 3 April.
Expect Drogba and Yilmaz to start up front for the visitors.