Orlando City SC may have one of the hottest strikers in MLS at their disposal in Cyle Larin, but they still have to be feeling a twinge of regret over missing out on Javier Hernandez’s signature last summer.
The 27-year-old Mexican striker joined Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen from Manchester United in late-August for around £7.3 million after being deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, but he has since demonstrated his value with 19 goals in 22 total appearances.
However, speaking to the Orlando Sentinel this week during his side’s winter training camp in Florida, Hernandez confirmed that a summer move to MLS was indeed in consideration.
Asked about Orlando’s pursuit of his signature, the former Chivas forward said: “That’s a question for my agent, because for me I just I knew that some of the people who works for MLS, yeah of course there were rumors, there were things, there were talks, but I was very focused to be there in Manchester United to try to make the best decision.”
While Hernandez had wanted to revive his United career after spending last season out on loan at Real Madrid, where he scored nine times in 33 games, promises of more first-team chances with the club proved hollow once the new campaign began.
As well as Orlando, the El Tri star was linked with a whole host of European sides as it became apparent that manager Louis van Gaal did not have him in his immediate or long-term plans, but Lerverkusen’s persistence ultimately convinced him that a move to the BayArena would be best for his future.
“In the first part in Manchester United they told me that I would have a little bit more chances [to play], and then a lot of interest [went] down, but Leverkusen stayed there,” added Hernandez. “They stayed there since the beginning to the last, just to [let me] know they were going to do their best until the last minute to try to sign me.
“When I talked with [Manchester United coach Louis] Van Gaal the three or four days before I came to Leverkusen, he told me if there is a good offer for me I should take it because at Manchester United probably I would not have the minutes that I wanted.”
Hernandez’s decision certainly looks inspired so far, but the player whose place he would have taken in the Orlando line-up, Larin, has not done too bad for himself since either.
The 20-year-old Canadian enjoyed a stellar debut season in MLS after being selected by the Lions as the first overall pick in the 2015 SuperDraft, as he hit 17 goals in 27 games to break the league’s rookie goal-scoring record and win the Rookie of the Year award.