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Chicharito Is Back, But Louis van Gaal Was Still Right to Sell Him

18/12/2015 17:43 GMT | Updated 18/12/2016 10:12 GMT

Cor, that pesky 'Little Pea' is having the time of his life out in Germany, isn't he?

Just in case you've missed the fall out that's come alongside Manchester United's gradual, slow, boring grind to mediocrity, it's worth a reminder that former striker Javier Hernandez is scoring for fun in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen.

You may have seen that he's bagged 15 goals in his last 12 games in all competitions. He hit a hat-trick against Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend - this was a team that just a week prior had cruised to victory over Bayern Munich - helping Bayer to a bumper 5-0 win.

His tally over the last 12 dwarfs United's scoring tally as a whole team. Louis van Gaal's side have mustered TEN goals in their last twelve - five less than Chicharito on his own. To boot, United have won just three of those games - all of which came in successive fixtures in November. It's one heck of a contrast.

Put two and two together and it's easy to criticise United boss Louis van Gaal for his decision to ship him off for good at the start of the season. They earned a painful £7.3m for Hernandez and most would jump to the conclusion that United have conducted some awful business. Bayer, on the other hand, have bought gold at a bargain price.

That latter statement rings true, and good for them. Hernandez is playing with a smile on his face again and is finally getting a regular run in a first team geared perfectly to how he plays the game. But that right there is the key. You can throw all the statistics out there that you'd like, but it's not as simple as 'Hernandez would still be doing this if he didn't leave Manchester United'.

He wouldn't be. Not under Van Gaal, anyway. Sure, he's a predator, and a man who may well have snatched the odd goal here and there for the (albeit infrequent) occasions United had worked the ball into a great position in the opposition's box. But Hernandez isn't built as the kind of striker Van Gaal requires. And despite the criticism he's getting for the sale, it doesn't mean Dutchman made the wrong decision.

Chicharito was never blessed with mesmerising feet. He's not the man to pull off that defence splitting pass through a tight gap, and he's rarely going to bully opposition defenders out of an extra yard of space. Even the long-range wonders he's sometimes proven himself capable of (​see his goal for Real Madrid against Deportivo last season) aren't championed in United's current set of tactical instructions.

That's not to say it's the right way to play either - Van Gaal has drawn enough scorn for his style as it is - but that's an entirely different conversation that's already rumbled on for months, and no doubt it'll continue to, too.

Hernandez plays on the shoulder. He ghosts in that yard of space in the area to turn home a header or a tap in, and he has pace to rely upon to wheel away from defenders. He thrives on chances and generally, United don't create enough of them.

Though he's got his merits, Van Gaal never saw him as a forward complete enough to compliment the way he wanted to play. If he had stayed, who's to suggest he wouldn't just be cutting the miserable benched figure that countless other United stars have been seen as this season?

It's easy to look back in hindsight and lump this as another bad call from Van Gaal. But even while there's a group of ex-professionals saying their old mates are better than the squad he's constructed at Old Trafford, it's not to say they're correct for jumping on the bandwagon.

Van Gaal has his faults, but he deserves some credit for transforming an ageing, under-performing squad of players into a younger (and alright, still under-performing) squad of players with plenty of promise.

Anthony Martial was the best thing since sliced bread back in September, and it's easy to forget that Luke Shaw was having the season of his life before breaking his leg the following month. Memphis Depay - though he's started slowly - has too much potential not to come good, and it's just a matter of patience.

United's squad needed a facelift on Van Gaal's arrival, and he's gone about doing that. His style of play may spell the end of his Old Trafford reign earlier than he'd have hoped, but he's not at fault for everything. Just consider it a positive that there's at least one happy man in Germany who's finally been given the opportunity to show his promise away from the shackles that once stopped him.

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