He was once, arguably, one of the hottest properties in the Premier League. Wearing the famous red shirt of Manchester United, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez struck 59 goals in 157 appearances and was the darling of the Old Trafford fans. Now, if one club owner gets his way, Chicharito could well be strutting his stuff in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Chicharito is a wanted man as far as Austin FC owner Anthony Precourt is concerned. He has his eyes on the Mexican hitman and it appears that the work to lure him from England, where he currently plays for London outfit West Ham United, begins right here and right now.
Precourt has a bit of time just yet as Austin FC won’t officially join the MLS until 2021 — and it makes perfect sense that, by then, Chicharito could well be ready for a switch from the Hammers. He has enjoyed an illustrious career and very much been seen as an impact sub — or perhaps super-sub — and was relied upon to be able to change games coming off the bench. He began at Chivas Guadalajara then headed to United and has also enjoyed spells at Spanish giants Real Madrid and German outfit Bayer Leverkusen.
And Precourt said:
“Chicharito would be pretty special. I’d be as excited as anyone. That’s the type of player we’ll target, and we’ll give our best pitch. I think he’s got a year left on his contract at West Ham and I think there’s other clubs that are rumoured to be looking at him in MLS. We’ll certainly be active in trying to recruit him in the years to come.”
Precourt is used to getting what he wants, let’s remember. When it was announced that the FC Austin franchise had been granted a path into the MLS after 15 months of discussion, wrangling and more discussion, he said:
“I never doubted that we would get this done. We had a vision and we stuck with it. I knew with hard work and resilience that we could persevere and today demonstrated that for all. There’s been a lot of iterations of soccer in this city. This city has wanted this, this city deserves this and today we celebrate that.”
They make not being action until 2021 but that hasn’t stopped the club’s powerbrokers getting on with business. In September of this year work will begin on a state-of-the-art 20,000-seat stadium in the city. Precourt added:
“We’ll start the zoning and permitting process in the next several weeks, and then we’ll begin building our training facility. We also plan to launch our academy in the middle of this year so we’ll have kids playing in the Austin FC kit, probably at the Under-15 level.”
Exciting times. More excitement will follow if, indeed, they can snare Chicharito.