Ian Herbert is convinced he is.
18 goals in 20 starts in his debut year. All indications that Chicharito Hernandez maybe able to keep up that extra-ordinary strike rate. At £6m he represents a Bosman in today’s hyper-inflated football market.
Lets compare some past signings:
In his first year at Man Utd, Dimitar Berbatov scored 9 goals in 31 Premiership appearances. In 45 appearances he scored 14 goals. He cost United almost £31m and it led to the derogation “Berbaflop”. In a bitter twist, Man Utd made an exception in his case despite a clause prohibiting the purchase of players older than 26 years.
Carlos Tevez proved to be far more productive. The controversial striker arrived in 2007 with the Kia Joorabchian mess hanging over his transfer. But he soon justified his £20 million fee by scoring 19 goals in 48 appearances including 14 Premiership goals in 34 appearances which proved instrumental in breaking Chelsea’s grip on the Premiership.
Cristiano Ronaldo whose 2009 departure for a record £80m represented not just a phenomenal 645% rate of return on his initial investment of £12.4m, it was commonly perceived as an apocalyptic event for the club. Ronaldo who become synonymous with blistering goals and a prodigious output had beginnings which were hardly auspicious. His first season yielded just 6 goals in 40 appearances.
Compare these stats to Chicharito’s 11 goals in 22 Premiership appearances. And he has been phenomenally productive in the Champions League scoring 5 goals in 8 appearances compared to his team mate Berbatov’s zero goals in 6 appearances. In 37 appearances he has notched 18 goals while costing £25m, £14m, and £6m less than Berbatov, Tevez, and Ronaldo, respectively.
Another way of looking at this is to compute the transfer fee paid to goals scored in their first season – Chicharito averages £333,333 per goal scored, this balloons to £1,052,631 (~ 300% increase) per goal scored for Tevez, which in turn is dwarfed by the £2,066,666 and £2,214,285 (~ 600% increase) cost of a goal scored by Ronaldo and Berbatov, respectively. Of course, these figures come down with the number of goals scored in subsequent seasons. Which makes Chicharito even more value for money.
At present his valuation would be about £20m. It took Ronaldo seven years to add £68 to his initial value. If Chicharito keeps this up he will eclipse that figure with a few years to spare.