Javier Hernandez has been discussing the prospect of playing at Old Trafford for the first time since being sold to Bayer Leverkusen back in 2015, noting he was unsure whether he would celebrate if he scored.
The Mexican joined Manchester United back in 2010 and swiftly became a favourite amongst supporters, claiming 20 goals in his first campaign and going on to average a goal every three games in a red shirt. He was, however, never looked on favourably by Louis van Gaal, who included him in his first starting XI against Swansea before loaning him out to Real Madrid for the 2014/15 campaign. He returned to the first team briefly before being criminally sold to Bayer Leverkusen for just £7.4m; the Little Pea claimed 26 goals for the German side whilst United suffered their worst season in front of goal in living memory.
He didn’t enjoy the same success with Leverkusen last season and has completed a move to West Ham United this summer for a fee of £16m. And the 29-year-old’s first opponent will be, of course, his old club at the ground he used to call home. A warm reception awaits him: United fans never got the chance to say a proper goodbye and thank you to a player nobody really wanted to leave.
This promises to be an emotional comeback. Hernandez developed a special reciprocal relationship with supporters and you can tell he remains torn over how he will react if he does score on his debut for Slaven Bilic’s side.
“It’s my old club with my old fans and my old stadium, so probably I cannot celebrate,” he said. “But as well it would be my first goal with my comeback with a club that has a lot of confidence in me.
“I don’t know – in this type of game and with these type of opportunities I will not think about celebration.”
Jose Mourinho recently admitted that he would have never even considered selling either Hernandez and Danny Welbeck – two moves that, in one way or another, came back to haunt United and Van Gaal. And the striker, who must have been hurt by the way he was so ruthlessly carted to one side, has expressed his gratitude to the 54-year-old for his warm remarks.
“My mind is completely at West Ham,” he noted. “But I do appreciate the words he has said in the past months but right now I am a Hammer.”