Javier "Chicharito" Hernández was West Ham United's marquee striker signing last summer. Many fans considered Chicharito a savior and thought that the Mexican joining would finally solve the Hammers’ issues in attack.
However, Marko Arnautovic is the player who turned out to be the Hammers' true savior, and Chicharito was a forgotten man in many ways during the second half of last season.
Now, Manuel Pellegrini has arrived at the London Stadium, and is reportedly ready to make Mexico's all-time leading scorer one of the most important players at the club. Many fans have been asking the question though, should Hernández be one the West Ham's most important players?
A deadly striker at his best
There is reason to believe he should be. Chicharito is a deadly finisher and had the best conversion rate in the Premier League last season (27.5%). Not only is the Mexican one of the best finishers in the league, but his movement off the ball is also up there with the best.
Hernández has never been one of the fastest or strongest players, but his ability to make intelligent runs behind the defence is one of the biggest reasons why the 30-year-old has had such a successful career so far, and why he could still be a massive player for the Hammers next season.
Lastly, Chicharito’s instincts are second to none, and over the course of his career he has proved that being in the right place at the right time is a skill over and over again. The Mexican international is the epitome of a poacher, and under Pellegrini we could get a glimpse of Chicharito at his best in claret and blue.
Time to impress under Pellegrini
However, with the emergence of Arnautovic as the Hammers' talisman up front last season, it’s hard to see where Hernández fits into the team.
Pellegrini could opt to play the Mexican alongside Arnautovic in a two-striker formation, but this would force the Chilean to drop one of his central midfielders in an already weak midfield. Also, many would refer to Chicharito as a “luxury” player, as the Mexican doesn’t offer much besides his goal-scoring prowess.
The number 17 is also arguably best used from the bench, running in behind tired legs at the ends of games. The Hammers saw this against Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth, when Hernández came on off the bench to help West Ham get something from both games.
In his first season in East London, the 30-year-old struggled to make a major impact on games and at times looked very uninterested. However, many believe this is because Hernández's style of play didn’t suit that of David Moyes, but with new manager Pellegrini roaming the touchline at the London Stadium this season, we could see a new Javier Hernández.
With it looking like Chicharito will be staying at the London Stadium this season, Pellegrini may just be ready to give the Mexican a big role in the side. If the Chilean is willing to put that much trust in Hernández after an underwhelming first season in east London, the Mexican striker must pay his manager back with goals on the pitch.