Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj will be plying their trade in the Bundesliga this season, after they sealed moves to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
Hernandez has sealed a permanent departure from Old Trafford, with Leverkusen paying £7.3m for the Mexican striker who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, whilst Januzaj’s move to the Rhineland is on a season-long loan.
Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard also sealed a switch away from United yesterday, moving to West Brom on a free transfer, as the number of players chopped from the squad by manager Louis van Gaal rose to a remarkable 19.
That figure could rise again on transfer deadline day, with Real Madrid scrabbling to resurrect David De Gea’s long-anticipated move after the two clubs failed to file paperwork before the Spanish deadline, whilst United fans were buoyed by the potential signing of French striker Anthony Martial for £36m from Monaco – a world-record bid for a teenager.
Hernandez, 27, is ending a five-year affiliation with the club by moving to Germany – a stay in which he scored 57 goals in 159 games and won two Premier League titles and the affections of many United fans.
Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller described the striker as ‘a great player’, saying: “With ‘Chicharito’, we have more possible variations and we’ll be more unpredictable.
“I am delighted that he has chosen to join Bayer Leverkusen.”
Januzaj meanwhile had looked set to play a part in Van Gaal’s side this year, after starting four of the Red Devils’ first six games this campaign.
However, a poor performance against Club Brugge in Belgium last Wednesday saw the 20-year-old brought off at half-time in his home country, and he sat out the weekend’s loss to Swansea with a minor hip injury.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the option is available for Dortmund to sign Januzaj permanently, but the club’s sporting director Michael Zorc said that the signing ‘completes [their] attacking department’.
Considering United’s toothless performances in the league this season, many fans will be perturbed to see Van Gaal offloading two attackers, with only the unproven Martial coming the other way so far.
And whilst Hernandez’s move is understandable, with the Mexican struggling to make an impact on the pitch since Sir Alex Ferguson’s resignation, Januzaj’s move comes as a surprise, especially with the versatile forward having no guarantee of increased game time at a Dortmund side flooded with attacking midfielders, including ex-Red Shinji Kagawa.
If the move is a sign that the prodigiously talented Belgian is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, it would mark a significant fall from grace after he inherited Ryan Giggs’ number 11 shirt upon the legendary Welshman’s retirement in 2014.
But United fans will be hoping that Martial will prove worthy of his significant transfer cost, with the 19-year-old striker already drawing comparisons to Thierry Henry.
Hernandez’s departure has vacated the number 14 shirt at Old Trafford – famously worn by Henry at Arsenal – and Van Gaal may be hoping that his newest acquisition can write the number into the history of United now as well.
Main image courtesy of BT Sport via YouTube, with thanks.