BELLEVUE, Wash.—Reading between the lines of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal's press conference on Wednesday, it seems Mexican forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernández will be back at Old Trafford this fall. Van Gaal spoke ahead of United's first match of preseason, on Friday against Mexican powerhouse and CONCACAF Champions League winner Club América in Seattle, where he indicated that Hernandez, along with Ángel di María and Marcos Rojo, will report to training on July 25 as United's tour of the United States continues.
“At the time that we had to decide which strikers we could have in Manchester United, we had already four strikers,” van Gaal said to media gathered at the team's hotel, referring to the time after he took charge of the club last preseason. “I have to make a decision that I let go Chicharito and also [Danny] Welbeck… but now, [Chicharito]’s coming back.”
Hernández joined Real Madrid on loan last year and scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 Champions League quarterfinal series against Atlético Madrid in April. He broke his collarbone playing for Mexico in the build-up to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but it seems he might have a place at United after Robin van Persie's recent departure to Fenerbahçe.
Van Gaal said he could not comment on rumors that di María would soon be leaving the club, though he did say United would likely make more moves before the transfer window closed.
“We shall see because in football, it’s a process,” van Gaal said. “It’s a process for Ángel di María; it’s a process for Manchester United. We shall see, but I count [on] him because he’s still now a member of Manchester United.”
One player certain to leave is former Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés, whose attitude van Gaal blasted on Wednesday.
“He’s not selected [for the tour] because he didn’t follow our philosophy,“ he said. “For example, he refused last year to play in the second team. … When you are not willing to follow the principles of the philosophy, then there is only one way, and that is out.”
Van Gaal then confirmed that the club would sell Valdés, who did play for United’s under-21s three times last season. However, van Gaal would not confirm outright that a new goalkeeper would be on his list of desired players, before admitting that it would be dependent on David de Gea’s situation.
Still, van Gaal sparred openly with reporters on rumors that de Gea would be leaving the club, saying the Spanish goalkeeper's attitude in training has been excellent in preseason.
“I have said that already, so when you ask me every press conference to the attitude of de Gea, I think it’s stupid,” van Gaal said. “There’s so much in the papers that is not true. … Maybe you’re right, but I can’t tell that in this moment.”
The club also unveiled recent signings Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian, with van Gaal saying their inclusion, along with Memphis Depay’s previously announced signing, gives him confidence heading into his second season in England.
“I’m very happy because they are, in my opinion, very good players,” van Gaal said. “We can prepare now, in the tour already, all the team elements that I have to implement with new players.”