Wayne Rooney seems ever more committed to ensuring an exit from Manchester United and rumours have already began to circulate over his potential replacements at Old Trafford with Luis Muriel of Udinese touted in some quarters. However, United – 11/5 co-favourites with Man City and Chelsea for Premier League glory next term – already have a criminally underrated striker in their squad who has been crying out for more time on the turf.
He scored his 18 goals in 2012/13 in just 36 appearances for the Red Devils, an impressive goal-every-other-game strike-rate that only tells half the story with 14 of those appearances coming as a substitute.
The striker in question’s record during the 14 starts he was afforded across Premier League and Champions League action last term offers a compelling case for new manager David Moyes to offer him more game time, with a return of nine goals from that measly 90-minute allowance.
Javier Hernandez is a goal-scorer par-excellence whose Premier League return last term was just two goals less than the feted scouser – despite the fact that he started less than half as many games – and given greater responsibility he has the nose for the onion bag to make 50/1 odds about his being Premier League top scorer look daft.
Perhaps he has been underused because – with the deft applications of boot or nodder that yield most of his goals – he fits the seemingly outdated role of pure finisher in a world of back-to-goal centre-forwards and attacking midfielders hungrily lapping up the space the aforementioned work-horses create.
If that is the case then nobody told creatively-passported £50m-plus Monaco man Radamel Falcao, who enjoyed far a greater understanding and consideration of his talents at Vincente Calderon.
Such a goal-getting knack is the kind of thing teams can be built around – as Los Rojiblancos showed with the Colombian – and whilst Robin Van Persie may be considered to offer the same traits and more to the United attack, United have flourished when the pair play together.
The eight matches in which the Dutchman and ‘Chicarito’ were harnessed from in tandem from the get-go in 2012/13 saw United triumph on eight occasions, as well as a 5-5 draw in which both men notched.