Leverkusen - On the final day of the summer transfer window, Bayer 04 Leverkusen got their man as Javier Hernández swapped Manchester United for the Werkself on the eastern bank of the Rhine.
"Bayer represent a great chance for me. I can achieve a lot here, and that's my aim," said the 27-year-old Mexican forward, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid CF.
Unable to pin down a regular starting place either at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu or, prior to that, Old Trafford, Hernández put pen to paper on a three-year deal with Leverkusen on Monday. Competition for places is fierce in its own right at last season's fourth-place finishers but, with his accumulated top-level experience, 'Chicharito' is unlikely to be fazed.
'A huge plus'
"I've played in the English Premier League and Spanish Primera Division, two of Europe's top leagues. Now I want to test myself in the Bundesliga as well," said the striker, adding that the German game was "very attack-oriented, for me that's a huge plus." That applies not least to Bayer Leverkusen under Roger Schmidt, and the head coach knows just what he's getting in his new import.
In 157 competitive outings all-told for Manchester United, Hernández scored 59 goals and laid on 20 more. At Real last season, he racked up seven goals and seven assists in 23 league appearances, despite rarely getting more than a half-hour run-out. For the national team, he is already second on the all-time scoring list with 40 in 74 appearances.
Bayer sporting director Rudi Völler, for one, expects great things of a "tricky, agile, pacy forward with a good short-passing game and a top-drawer finish on him." Hernández, Völler continued, "offers us fresh options up front and will make us even harder to plan against." Chicharito – 'Little Pea' – looks fair set to make a big impression in the league of the world champions.