Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has reiterated his disbelief that Bayer Leverkusen were able to coax former teammate Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez away from Old Trafford for such a paltry fee. The affable Mexican is set to play his first competitive match in England for more than two years on Wednesday night (2 November) as Roger Schmidt's side visit Tottenham Hotspur in Champions League Group E a fortnight after playing out a goalless draw against the same opposition back home at the BayArena.
Chicharito scored 59 goals in 156 appearances and won two Premier League titles for United in the five-year spell that followed his move from Chivas de Guadalajara in 2010, but struggled to establish himself as a regular starter and shake the 'super sub' tag earned after a series of impressive performances off the bench.
Hernandez slipped further down the pecking order following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and was loaned to Real Madrid following Louis van Gaal's arrival in 2014. However, the La Liga giants rejected the opportunity to turn that deal into a permanent arrangement and he was subsequently sold to Leverkusen last summer for just £7.3m ($8.9m).
The 28-year-old adapted quickly to life in Germany and his 26-goal haul across all competitions last term only served to magnify United's attacking woes under Van Gaal. Hernandez has already scored seven times in 2016/17 despite his final pre-season preparations being disrupted by a broken metacarpal bone in his right hand, and Ferdinand is evidently still perplexed as to why he was offloaded so cheaply.
Addressing Tottenham's recent frustrations in his weekly column for the London Evening Standard, he said: "Spurs will have to watch out for my former Manchester United team-mate Javier Hernandez because he is a potent striker who takes his chances. I still can't believe that he joined Leverkusen from Manchester United for just £7.3m last year. When you look at the market today, it was an unbelievable bit of business by Bayer Leverkusen."
Hernandez is currently on a run of five matches without a goal and has not scored since netting the second in a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at the beginning g October. He also spurned a gilt-edged chance to give Leverkusen an early second-half lead against Spurs when his close-range effort from Lars Bender's cross was clawed off the line superbly by Hugo Lloris, although the player insists he has nothing to prove on his return to English football.
"No, definitely not," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports at a press conference. "Any minutes I had on the pitch at Manchester United, I tried to do my best. Thankfully, the numbers are positive for me. When I left I had the fourth[-best] record in history of minutes and goals in the Premier League. That's what I had at United.
"I also left a lot of good friends and memories in the Premier League. In all parts of life things can be better or worse but I enjoyed it a lot. I got a lot of experience and now I am at one of the best teams in Germany. I am doing my best, enjoying the best thing I love in my life, which is football, so I am very glad and very happy."