First David Beckham. Then Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Now Chicharito.
With Ibrahimovic gone, LAFC looking stacked ahead of 2020 and no global stars on the current squad, the LA Galaxy needed to do something to maintain their status as the MLS glamor club. So they did.
The LA Galaxy announced the signing of Javier Hernandez on Tuesday, finally bringing one of Mexico’s biggest stars to MLS. Chicharito had long toyed with coming to America, and he finally pulled the trigger with a contract that has been reported to make him the highest-paid player in MLS.
Imaginémonos cosas chingonas. pic.twitter.com/uYK2rxpmAH— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 21, 2020
Ibrahimovic left the Galaxy at the end of 2019 after one-and-a-half seasons in LA, the second of which included the biggest salary in MLS. While his short stint in the U.S. was successful individually (he scored 53 goals in 58 appearances), he was unable to bring a title to LA.
With Zlatan back at AC Milan, the Galaxy’s attack had a massive hole in it heading into the 2020 season. That hole has been filled by Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer and an MLS target for a decade.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, the Galaxy will pay a $9.4 million transfer fee to Sevilla, where Chicharito scored one goal in nine LaLiga appearances this season. The Chicharito MLS salary will be a three-year contract worth a guaranteed $6 million per season.
Chicharito MLS Salary
- Salary: $6 million
- Years: 3
- Transfer Fee: $9.4 million
Technically Hernandez won’t make the most guaranteed money in MLS — Carlos Vela and Jozy Altidore will make about $6.3 million — but he could easily surpass that number with incentives.
Some are calling this the biggest signing in MLS history outside of David Beckham. No doubt, Chicharito is a proven goal scorer at all levels, including those far above MLS. He’s played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, West Ham and Sevilla. He’s scored 52 international goals, as many as any American not named Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey.
Ps. Why does news always seem to break when I’m driving. pic.twitter.com/cUWmX5UtBj
— Stu Holden (@stuholden) January 17, 2020
Now 31, Chicharito’s goal return has diminished over the last few years. The last time he scored more than 10 goals in a season was 2016-17 with Bayer Leverkusen. He hasn’t scored more than four goals for Mexico in a calendar year since 2013.
Given his quality and experience, Chicharito will likely score plenty of goals for the Galaxy, especially if he can get good service from guys like Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Álvarez.
Can Hernandez equal Zlatan’s 31-goal haul from last year? Maybe. Will he score more than compatriot Carlos Vela did last year when the LAFC forward netted an MLS-record 34 goals? Probably not. But the rivalry between those two will be must-see TV.
And that’s where Chicharito could bring his biggest value: marketing.
As a huge name in both Mexico and the U.S., the Galaxy will be able to market the shit out of him, perhaps more so than Zlatan. He won’t reach Beckham levels of hype, but the league doesn’t need a Beckham at this point in time.
Regardless how many goals Hernandez scores, this is a big deal for MLS.