Hernandez shines among Premier League newcomers
Perusing through the latest influx of major pre-season signings to join the English Premier League can quickly become a competition to find which transaction does not include the words Manchester and City.
As expected, it is the blue half of Manchester that have splashed the cash on behalf of Italian manager Roberto Mancini, as they bid to break into the top four and come away with a minimum of Champions League soccer this season.
By logic, the team with the most spending power should sit on top of any best pre-season buy list, but since when has soccer been a logical game?
City have spent well, no doubt. Valencia and Spain winger David Silva, Ivory Coast and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure and Germany and Hamburg SV fullback Jerome Boateng have all moved to Eastlands for a combined total of around 80 million pounds and more are likely to follow, with Aston Villa’s James Milner set to take their spending over the 100 million mark.
Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli could also join.
Their rivals have been more modestly busy.
Arsenal have brought in much-needed firepower in the shape of Marouane Chamakh on a free transfer from Ligue 1 side Girondins Bordeaux and steadied the back four with Frenchman Laurent Koscielny.
Chelsea have swapped new Liverpool man Joe Cole for Yossi Benayoun, got rid of ageing midfielders Michael Ballack and Deco and are set to sign the highly-rated Brazil international Ramires from Benfica.
For me, though, it is Manchester United who have made the best acquisition of all.
Javier Hernandez, who joined Alex Ferguson’s side in pre-season after signing a deal in the previous campaign, is a fantastic prospect likely to make a huge impact to the Red Devils’ frontline.
The 22-year-old Mexican caught everyone’s eye at the World Cup in South Africa this year, so much so that Ferguson quaffed the club had probably saved themselves 10 million pounds by signing him before the tournament started.
He has won many friends at United already. Together with the form of Portuguese winger Nani, Hernandez’s performance on a pre-season tour of the United States was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip.
The confident, speedy forward followed that up with an impressive 45 minutes in the 3-1 Community Shield win over Chelsea on Sunday, which included a rather hilarious goal which went in off his face to make the score 2-0.
United’s attack lacks spark if Wayne Rooney is not at his best and Hernandez could provide an extra boost that injury-prone Michael Owen, still grappling with the United system, and Dimitar Berbatov have yet to do on a regular basis.
Of the other teams in the division, ex-Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford could prove a very good piece of business for Everton and former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell will provide a calming influence at Newcastle United on their return to the league.
Have I missed anyone out? Disagree with me? Let us know…
PHOTO: Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez celebrates scoring against Chelsea during their English Community Shield soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London August 8, 2010. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis