The MLS has been able to capture loads of young, exciting talent over the past few years. And by young I don't mean 21- or 22-year-old players who are on the verge of breaking out; I mean experienced players in the 27-29 range who could easily feature in Europe, but opted to move stateside instead.
Giovani dos Santos and Sebastian Giovinco are two examples, and we could add Josef Martinez and Carlos Carmona (both signed by Atlanta United FC) to the list. But a bigger name could be on the way to MLS, one that would make the league much better almost instantly.
His name? No other than Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.
The Mexican starlet is currently playing for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, but he would be a special get if the MLS lands him. He's a player who can move the needle in attendance, marketing and TV numbers, and can overtake multiple soccer markets solely with his presence.
He would also be a huge signing in terms of merchandising, thanks to the huge Mexican-American community based on the US. And what's even more crazy is that we haven't discussed their impact on the field yet.
However, the price tag will be a hefty one. When Chicharito last negotiated with an MLS franchise back in 2015, he asked over $10 million in salary per year -- and to put the number into context, no player earned over $7.5 million last season, and only two (Kaká and Giovinco) broke the $7 million barrier. If we add a potential transfer fee, we could easily talk about over $50 million in a three- or four-year contract.
Even in that scenario, is he really arriving to MLS? Hard to say. If he ever leaves Leverkusen, Chicharito could easily try to maintain his name in Europe to play in the Champions League. And PSG have been looking to sign him for a very, very long time. There's also the temptation of returning to Liga MX.
Wherever he goes, we know Hernandez will fill stadiums and bring sponsors on board. But MLS teams should do everything in their power to land him. He's that good, and he'll certainly improve the overall quality of the league with his presence.