While Chicharito was making his return to the Bayer Leverkusen squad on Sunday, the rumor mill was cranking into overdrive over the Mexican striker’s next move. On Saturday night, Metro New York’s Kristian Dyer reported on MSG Network that not only could Javier Hernández be headed to MLS’s newest expansion team, Los Angeles FC, but he will be doing so on the biggest contract in league history, at over $10 million a season.
The record-breaking contract would just be the cherry on top of the lucrative sundae for the 28-year-old striker, who’s had an up-and-down year in Germany, going scoreless for 11 matches before winning the Bundesliga Player of the Month award for February.
Rumors have swirled around Hernández regarding his departure, with teams like Arsenal, Villareal, and even his hometown Chivas de Guadalajara getting their turn on the carousel of uncertified transfer news this season. Of all of these, however, LAFC appears to be the first rumor that has advanced past “possible” and into the realm of “they’re holding negotiations.”
A player of Chicharito’s caliber moving to MLS is a huge story on its own, but the best Mexican player heading stateside would be a huge coup for a league trying to get a deeper foothold into the American sports market. As evidenced by any and all games featuring El Tri in the United States, Mexican fans have a deep influence on how soccer is received in the country, and Chicharito moving over would surely spike up TV ratings and attendance for the newest club in the league.
LAFC had also been looking to bring over Zlatan Ibrahimovic before his season-ending knee injury in the Europa League last week, so their interest in Chicharito doesn’t come out of nowhere. The club clearly wants to make a splash with big stars and big results from the word go, and bringing over a La Liga/Premier League/Bundesliga-tested striker like Hernández goes a big way towards accomplishing both goals.