In an exclusive interview with themaneland.com, Orlando general manager Paul McDonough confirmed that the club had held previous talks with the Manchester United striker, whose contract expires next summer, and will continue to monitor his status amid reported interest from both Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United [h/t Evening Standard].
"There were discussions,” McDonough said. “It just didn't work out for whatever reason. The club had authorized us to go and try to get it done. We did try.
“He's back at Man U right now and this is the last year of his deal, so we'll continue to monitor that and see how it goes. We have his discovery rights and we will forever."
Hernandez, 27, spent last season on loan at Real Madrid following Louis van Gaal’s arrival at United, scoring nine goals in 33 total appearances before returning to Old Trafford after the Spanish giants decided against making his move permanent.
He has since been linked with a host of clubs this summer, with the latest reports claiming that Tottenham [h/t The Independent] and West Ham [h/t Daily Mail] are considering matching United’s £12 million asking price amid their respective efforts to add help up top.
However, MLS was also touted as a potential destination prior to the league’s transfer window closing last week, with Orlando long-considered the favourites among stateside clubs for his signature.
The expansion side’s owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva, even sounded confident last month about getting a deal done for the Mexico international, telling MLSSoccer.com: “Many clubs in MLS are working to have this guy, but we are at the beginning of the conversation and, as you know, the less we talk about the situation the better, because we are in the middle of negotiations.
“We hope in one or two weeks to be ready to talk about Chicharito in a different way.”
Da Silva’s revealing comments also came after Mexican news outlet Medio Tiempo reported that Orlando had offered Hernandez a lucrative wage package of around $10 million [£6.5 million] per year – a salary that would have made him the highest-paid player in MLS.
As one of the stars of the Mexico national team, the 74-times capped forward could prove a huge commercial draw in North America, while both his age and goalscoring pedigree would also suggest that his signature would be well worth the claimed asking price to the Florida outfit.
No deal ever materialised in the end, however, and there remains a strong sense that the former Chivas hostshot is reluctant to head back across the Atlantic while he still has options in Europe.
It makes perfect sense for Orlando to continue to monitor developments from afar but, with the Premier League’s transfer window now reaching its closing stages, it would be no surprise if Hernandez was off the market come the MLS off-season.
The likes of Spurs and West Ham are growing more and more desperate for attacking reinforcements and, with a record of 37 goals in 102 league games for United, there is little doubt that Chicharito can provide the goods if given a chance.