Mexican striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez slipped through international soccer's summer transfer window just before it closed Monday, moving from England's Manchester United to Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid on a season-long loan.
And just as Hernandez was leaving, Manchester United welcomed his replacement, Colombia's Radamel Falcao, who will join the English Premier League team on a season-long loan from Monaco. EPL rivals Manchester City and Arsenal were both believed to be actively pursuing Falcao before Monaco reached terms with Manchester United.
Manchester United's Dutch coach, Louis van Gaal, also landed valuable utility player Daley Blind from Ajax of the Netherlands ahead of the deadline. Van Gaal reportedly became smitten with Blind during this summer's World Cup when he coached Blind with Holland's national team.
For Hernandez, meanwhile, the move from the EPL to La Liga gives him a chance at a fresh start.
The former Chivas striker, one of Mexico's most popular international stars, jumped to England shortly after the 2010 World Cup and scored 20 goals in his first season, helping the Red Devils to a league title. He won another league title two years later. But Alex Ferguson stepped down as coach after that season and Hernandez was never able to win the favor of his replacement, David Moyes, nor Moyes' replacement, van Gaal.
In fact, van Gaal last month told Hernandez and his agent to begin looking for other opportunities for the 26-year-old since he would not figure heavily in the team's plans going forward. Playing time could be hard to find in Madrid as well since Real is already loaded up front with world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez and Wales' Gareth Bale.
Hernandez scored 37 times in 102 league appearances, although over half of those were as a substitute. As part of the loan agreement, Real Madrid has an option to purchase Hernandez outright after the season.
Manchester United has been especially active since van Gaal's hiring in May. In addition to Falcao and Blind, the team has also added Angel di Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo to its first team.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun