The Chicago Fire are in the process of rebooting their franchise. And as they look for a boost, on and off the pitch, Javier Hernandez could be the perfect signing.
It is a new era for the Chicago Fire. Joe Mansueto is now the owner, buying out the wretched Andrew Hauptman, who supporters were keen to see the back of, there is a new badge, which supporters would also like to see the back of, and there is the move downtown to Soldier Field.
There is also great change on the pitch. Veljko Paunovic is no longer the head coach, Designated Players Nemanja Nikolic, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Aleksandar Katai are all seemingly set to leave the club this offseason, as well as big-name European acquisition Nicolas Gaitan, while there is an expectation that some serious investment will be made in the squad over the coming months.
As this new era gets underway and the Chicago Fire look to breath new life into one of MLS’ premier franchises, without ever actually being a premier team in recent years, the need for splash investments is great, on and off the pitch.
With all this in mind, reports linking Javier Hernandez with a move to MLS, something that has been rumoured throughout his career, could see the Fire invest in a truly franchise-defining player. Hernandez would be one of the biggest stars in the league, and perhaps the most popular too. That is the type of individual that the Fire must invest in this winter.
And Hernandez has not exactly denied that he could be on his way to the States. When asked about the possibility of an MLS transfer by the Los Angeles Times, Hernandez conceded that it is an ‘opportunity’:
"“Yes. Definitely. Look, I am always thinking about my future. I want to be as open as I can to any opportunity. MLS is a league that is improving. It is an opportunity. Every league is an opportunity.”"
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And the Chicago Fire would represent the ideal landing spot for Hernandez. They have the financial muscle to pull off this type of deal, and, make no mistake, Hernandez would not come cheap, need a splash signing that could provide as much commercial value as footballing value, which Hernandez would, and there is a starting centre-forward spot available after Nikolic’s exit.
The Fire have plenty of freedom to invest in the squad this offseason. They can build the team how they wish. What better way than to start by signing one of the best natural goalscorers in European football?
Moreover, there are nearly 700,000 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in Chicago. It is a little cold to simply state that the club would be signing a player to attract a particular demographic, but it would be foolish to not admit that these type of transfers help establish franchises. In football, financial muscle is important. Successful teams are often the ones that spend the most. And Hernandez would help provide the commercial development that the Fire need to further invest in their rebrand.
Whether an MLS move entails for Hernandez remains to be seen. But if it does, the Chicago Fire would be an ideal landing spot.