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Why Chicharito-to-LAFC makes sense for LAFC

This really is a match made in heaven.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Last week, Spanish outlet AS reported that Los Angeles Football Club were targeting Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez as a major signing for the MLS expansion club, claiming LAFC would be doing “everything possible” to obtain the Mexican international.

LAFC have been connected to Chicharito before, having included him in a list of four stars in a report on ESPN last year, so this appears to have legs from the start. Add to that, the tidbit from AS that his contract with current club Bayer Leverkusen runs out in 2018, and the timing looks impeccable.

While that contract is almost certainly through the end of 2017-18 Bundesliga season, meaning the summer of 2018, even bringing in Chicharito during the season would not be the worst thing in the world. And it’s possible a deal could be worked out to send a small amount of money or to cancel his contract a few months early, as happened with Sebastian Giovinco when he signed with Toronto FC, so he could start his MLS tenure from the start of the season.

Here’s my case for why this move would be great for the club:

Why signing Chicharito benefits LAFC:

I’ve seen a few people scoff at Hernandez signing for LAFC from the team’s perspective, and that’s totally puzzling to me. Here’s a list I’ve been mulling over of the best realistically possible global stars to target for the expansion team (keep in mind I didn’t even include Lionel Messi because I think there’s a virtually zero chance he ever plays in North America):

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Neymar
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Alexis Sanchez
  • Chicharito

All five of these players are globally known, really, really good at soccer, and most have captivating personalities that would help launch an expansion team to boot.

Ronaldo had been at the top of my list since LAFC was announced, but his recent contract extension with Real Madrid means he’s almost certainly staying in Spain, maybe for the rest of his career. Neymar is too young to make the move to MLS at this point, realistically. I think the same goes for Sanchez, but he’s already moved around a lot in his career and may be interested in a less intense lifestyle if playing constantly in London is leading to legitimate burnout.

That leaves Zlatan and Chicharito, who I think are the most realistic of these megastar targets at this point. There have been murmurings of Zlatan coming to LA, and those persist, but his age (he’ll be 36 at the start of the 2018 MLS season) lead to reasonable questions about his durability if he made the jump to the U.S. He would have the personality and attraction for neutrals to be attractive to LAFC, but would he be on the field enough to actually make a big impact in games?

In contrast, Chicharito would be 29 to start the 2018 season, and to a Southern California audience, he would arguably be as popular, if not more, as Zlatan. I know many U.S. Men’s National Team fans can’t stand Chicharito, but he never gets in trouble, he speaks English very well, he’s one goal from tying the Mexican National Team all-time scoring record, and he has played in some of the biggest occasions for some of the biggest teams on the planet. He’s won the English Premier League, played in a Champions League final, scored in multiple World Cups and a Copa America. He’s shown his bonafides over a number of years.

So the appeal of Chicharito as a player alone, to say nothing of the popularity he has among the Mexican and Mexican-American public and frankly, among many soccer fans in general, makes him a terrific option for LAFC to sign for 2018. And if the contract situation is ideal, he’s game to come to MLS (he’s said in the past he is) and LAFC do what they need to in order for him to sign on the dotted line, it’s a no-brainer for the team.

Tomorrow, I’ll explain why a move to LAFC would also benefit Chicharito.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!