Los Angeles Galaxy are at a crossroads entering the 2020 MLS season. They fell short of their title expectations last year and, to make things even more complicated, they lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan. The Swede netted 53 goals in 58 appearances for Galaxy during his two-year tenure on American soil.
The impact of Zlatan’s departure is huge for the Galaxy. But the California-based franchise also lost Favio Alvarez (to Pumas UNAM) and Uriel Antuna (to Chivas Guadalajara) this offseason as well. They needed a boost upfront ahead of the 2020 campaign. On paper, it seems they have secured it with the arrival of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
The Mexico international is a long-time idol in the CONCACAF region due to his performances with El Tri, but also because he opened doors for other Mexican players abroad. He registers stints for Manchester United and Real Madrid during his career. However, he is coming off several years where he was unable to meet expectations over his shoulders. He only scored four goals in 17 matches for Sevilla across all competitions during the first half of the 2019-20 season before sealing the Galaxy move.
Is Chicharito going to be a success at the MLS level?
Make no mistake here: Chicharito will be an instant hit at Los Angeles. He still possesses above-average technical and physical traits to play at a decent level in the MLS. But he’s not the goalscoring machine he was during his Manchester United days. There’s a big chance the Galaxy will be bringing someone whose peak might be what he did at Leverkusen. Hernandez netted 39 goals in 76 appearances in all competitions for the Bundesliga side.
The 31-year-old Mexican star is still on his prime years, and he should deliver at a top level for two or three years at least while playing against lesser competition – compared to the one he faced in Germany and England, at least. And if he delivers, then he would justify the fact that he will be the league’s highest-paid player.
Marketing-wise, Chicharito will be an absolute success. He could also play at a very high level. But he’s not the player they need if they wanted to replace Ibrahimovic. The MLS might never get another player like Zlatan in a very long, long time.
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