A new report on Friday indicates after weeks of speculation, Major League Soccer have actually started negotiating to bring Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to the league.
Jeff Carlisle of ESPN reports current negotiations would be for Chicharito to join the league in the summer of 2018, after his current contract with German club Bayer Leverkusen is up, and presumably following the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Of particular note, Carlisle reports the two teams linked to Chicharito are the two Southern California teams, 2018 expansion side Los Angeles Football Club and MLS original team LA Galaxy. It is unclear if Carlisle is going from sources on that or previous reports about Chicharito coming to MLS.
Given his popularity, it’s a no-brainer that both LA teams want Chicharito, both for on- and off-field reasons. For LAFC, Chicharito would be both a quality player and perhaps the most marketable player in North America to help launch the expansion team, while a scenario in which the Galaxy acquire him would effectively help the MLS rich get richer and signal the Galaxy’s intent to keep a stranglehold over the local market and MLS as a whole.
Carlisle’s report does indicate that this is only the beginning of a formal process to see if Chicharito could join MLS in roughly 18 months’ time, and the initial salary is being pegged at $9 million annually, down from the recently reported $15 million. A lot could happen in the meantime, and while the wheels are spinning in motion and speculation is turning to actual action, it will be interesting to see if MLS and LAFC respectively can ultimately grab a legitimate superstar.
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