A toxic atmosphere is apparently developing at West Ham due to Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez‘s wages at the club.
The Mexican forward is the highest earner at the London Stadium, raking in a whopping £145,000-a-week wage. According to @ExWHUemployee, a usually reliable Hammers source on Twitter, the Mexican’s wages are now beginning to cause problems amongst the players at the club.
The only other squad member to be earning a three-figure sum at West Ham is star striker Marko Arnautovic. This revelation comes at a time when Declan Rice’s contract situation is also a contentious topic.
When Chicharito arrived in East London in the summer of 2017, Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan said that he was the “best player the club had ever signed”. Fast forward just over a year, and many involved with the club are wondering whether he’s really worth his wages.
So, let’s take a look at his time with the Irons.
Chicharito last season
The striker didn’t quite have the impact fans were expecting in his first season with West Ham, as he scored eight goals in 33 matches, adding just one assist. In his second appearance for the club, Chicharito looked like he could still be that same goal-poaching nuisance of a forward that he proved to be at Manchester United, after scoring two goals at Southampton.
However, the Mexican notched just two further goals up until mid-January, which ramped up the pressure on all parties involved with his transfer. He did have a purple patch towards the back end of January, though, after netting three times and creating a goal in four outings. Chicharito then only went on to register one more goal before the end of the season. By this time, he had fallen well behind Arnautovic in the pecking order.
In his 28 Premier League appearances last season, 16 of which were starts, the forward averaged just one shot on goal per game. In addition to that, he made 0.8 key passes, out of the 13.3 he attempted and also made 0.8 successful dribbles. Hernandez was dispossessed of the ball 1.4 times and had as many unsuccessful touches.
A number of Hammers fans branded him lazy throughout the season, perhaps these stats back up that opinion.
Chicharito this season
Chicharito came into this season looking to earn back his place and prove a point to the West Ham faithful. It hasn’t exactly got off to a great start. He has so far made eight Premier League appearances, starting just twice, and scoring only once. He did register a goal against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup, though.
One of Hernandez’s starts came against Bournemouth, in the Irons’ first home game of the season. He actually didn’t play too badly in that match and even won a penalty, which Arnautovic duly slotted home. But the Cherries scored two quick second-half goals to go ahead, and the striker was then hauled off the pitch.
A couple of weeks later Chicharito was, unfortunately, struck down with glandular fever and missed several games. Since his return, he started at Leicester City but failed to have much of an impact and was taken off an hour into the game, with the Hammers down to ten men. He was also given the nod against Spurs in the Carabao Cup. After again failing to impose himself on the match, he was taken off after 60 minutes.
A couple of weeks ago against Burnley, he was given a much-needed confidence boost, after coming off the bench to score his first league goal of the season and seal the victory for West Ham.
Although most of his outings have been as a substitute this campaign, the Mexican’s stats don’t look too good. Of his 9.4 attempted passes per game, only 0.3 have been key, while he has registered just 0.3 successful dribbles.
Surprisingly, his shots per game ratio has risen compared to last season from one to 1.3, despite less playing time. The forward is losing possession on 0.4 occasions and is having one unsuccessful touch a game.
The stats may not be completely terrible, nor is Chicharito’s goal record of just under one in four that bad. But do they reflect a man earning £145K a week? The answer is no.
There is, of course, the argument that he isn’t starting many games – but then why keep him? The simple fact is, that no matter who the player is, West Ham can’t afford to be paying a player that much and not be playing him or getting consistent, high-level performances.
Hernandez is 30 years of age now and his best years may well be behind him. His market value will have definitely taken a dip since he signed for the Hammers. Should the club accept his wages for the next couple of years, before probably letting him go for nothing? Not to mention the animosity that his wage could, and by all accounts already has created within the squad.
This could well be the best time for West Ham to let Chicharito move on.
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