The English Premier League is set to kickoff this weekend. There are currently only 2 Mexican internationals on EPL rosters but for the sake of this preview, lets include Raul Jimenez as a West Ham player. His loan deal is expected to be finalized this weekend.
Javier Hernandez is back at Old Trafford. Amid all the transfer rumors and “Done Deals”, Chicharito will start the season at Manchester United. How did this happen after everyone assumed he had played his last game for the Red Devils? Well, after Real Madrid said “thanks but no thanks” to their buy option, United got rid of a couple strikers. Now, Louis van Gaal has few options up top and has incorporated Chicharito into the team….for now. These are van Gaal’s current options:
Wayne Rooney: A player who has spent the bulk of the last couple of seasons roaming the midfield but can probably still remember how to play as a forward.
Memphis Depay: Scored 22 in the Eredivisie last season but plays mostly as a winger, not an out and out striker. Superbly talented.
James Wilson: A 19 year old academy product who scored 2 goals in 17 appearances last season. Wilson only made 4 starts last season and could easily go out on loan to find more first team minutes.
Marouane Fellaini: The Belgium international started a few matches as a Target Forward for van Gaal. However, he is not a real option to get many starts as a forward. Fellaini will be suspended for the first 3 games this season due to a red card in the season finale in May.
Adnan Januzaj: LvG has talked about using him as a center forward in the upcoming season. A position he has played at youth levels but has been used exclusively as a midfielder as a senior player. Also, rumored to be a loan target for Sunderland.
As you can see, United need Chicharito now. Besides Rooney, LvG has 4 shaky options to play center forward: 3 players who are not natural center forwards and one who is but wont turn 20 until December. All this for a team who will have to compete in the EPL, Champions League, League Cup, and FA Cup. Of course, there is still a couple weeks left in the transfer window and LvG can easily bring in another forward and ship off Chicharito. But if things stay the same, Louis van Gaal will need to play Chicharito to help compete in all these different types of competitions.
Kickoff: 8/8/15: Manchester United vs Tottenham, 6:45am (Central) on NBCSN
Miguel Layun took a risk in coming to a Championship club back in January but the risk has paid off. Watford won promotion into the EPL and will now fight to avoid relegation. So will Layun get to play this season? As of right now, its not even a foregone conclusion he makes the final 25 man roster for Watford. Competition, coupled with the Premier League’s roster rules might keep him off the team but his versatility should see him make the cut. In the preseason, Layun has been used as a full/wingback, central midfielder and even as an attacking midfielder. His versatility will allow his coach to use him in different positions and should, get him a spot on the roster. What are the options if he does not make the squad? Luckily, the owners of Watford own Udinese in Serie A and Granada in La Liga. Layun could possibly head to either of those clubs. But that’s worse case scenario and I see him contributing to Watford this season.
Kickoff: 8/8/15: Watford vs Everton, 9:00am (Central) on USA Network
Raul Jimenez has all but been pictured wearing a West Ham jersey. Multiple outlets have reported the deal is now complete, pending a physical. The loan features a buy option for West Ham and a $2mil loan fee. This bodes well for Jimenez and will give West Ham an incentive to play and develop him. Unfortunately for Jimenez, West Ham were bounced out of the Europa League yesterday. Is this a good move for Jimenez? I think so. West Ham are in need of forwards, especially after it was announced Enner Valencia would be out several months. Joining him as a newcomer to West Ham will be Dimitri Payet. He led all of Europe in chances created last season and should send a few Raul’s way. If Raul can finish those chances, there’s no reason to think they wont exercise the buy option. This upcoming season for Jimenez will go a long way in determining how long his European adventure will last.
Kickoff: 8/9/15: West Ham vs Arsenal, 7:30am (Central) on NBCSN