By Jose M. Romero / @RomeroJoseM
For Fox Deportes
In European soccer (football), the rich typically take from the poor and most of the same big-money clubs are at the top of the table year after year.
Now, the rich is poised to take from the rich. English Premier League power Manchester United is on the cusp of landing 29-year-old Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie, which will trigger a chain reaction of other roster decisions for both sides.
Apparently Man U. feels it must have four quality strikers. It will have five with Van Persie – Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov – but Berbatov is all but out the door.
Berbatov, at 31, is the old man of the group. Rooney is the constant, a pillar in English soccer at 26. Welbeck, 21, is the future and Hernandez, at 24, still has many years of the game in front of him.
Hernandez’s role probably won’t change much. He found a role as instant offense coming off the bench part-time, and he’ll probably share that role as a top reserve with Welbeck. It figures to be Rooney and Van Persie up top, and when Sir Alex Ferguson wants three attackers in the game to start, Welbeck will probably get the nod more than Chicharito.
Keep in mind that in addition to a long EPL regular season, Man U. is in the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup, and its depth will be important. Also, the addition of Van Persie sends a message across town to arch-rival Manchester City, which won the EPL last season with Manchester United finishing second, that United is going after the title.
Hernandez isn’t a big player and he simply can’t play every game, or the wear and tear would take too much of a toll on his body. A four-man rotation that keeps him fresh is how he can be most effective; he likes to move a lot and get himself into favorable positions to make something happen. Manchester United’s use of him has worked.
Hernandez scored 10 goals in 28 games last season, 10 of those matches as a reserve. That’s solid production. He is not asked to be the featured striker and instead has a role on the team.
There is also the notion that Hernandez could be called away by the Mexican national team for World Cup qualifying matches. Mexico might not need him until the final stage of qualifying early next year, but by then he will be well into the EPL season.
No matter how one views the Van Persie move, just the fact that Hernandez is playing and excelling in the EPL is enough. That’s all he needs to do to maintain his status as Mexico’s best international player. As long as he’s providing offense when given the opportunity, he won’t languish on Ferguson’s bench.
Manchester United has done business like this for years, bringing in a big name and trying to figure out where that player fits in the playing rotation. The superclub is in the business of trying to win titles with the best players its money can purchase. It won’t be any different this season.