Javier Hernandez sounded confident that he can become the prolific goalscorer West Ham United need when he gave his first news conference on Friday since joining from Bayer Leverkusen.
The club’s fourth major signing of the close-season after goalkeeper Joe Hart, defender Pablo Zabaleta and forward Marko Arnautovic is arguably the most important as manager Slaven Bilic looks to improve on last season’s lack of goals.
No player reached double figures and West Ham finished 11th in the Premier League. Michail Antonio, who will miss the start of the new campaign as he recovers from hamstring surgery, scored nine times in all competitions, Manuel Lanzini eight, the injury-prone Andy Carroll seven and Andre Ayew six.
“I never set a goals target,” Hernandez said at West Ham’s training base in Germany. “It’s about the team and I want to show I’m a football player not (just) a goal-scorer.
“But I’m coming here with a lot of hunger and ambition. It’s the most difficult league in the world and I want to challenge myself,” the Mexican added.
“I had other options, in Spain and Italy, but West Ham showed a lot of confidence and trust in me. They have shown a lot of ambition and want to qualify for Europe again.”
For someone who has often been used as a substitute, the player known in his homeland as “Chicharito” (Little Pea), has an impressive scoring record with a goal every two games for Leverkusen and Mexico and one in three for Manchester United, who he joined in 2010.
He is already looking forward to a return to Old Trafford for West Ham’s opening Premier League game on Aug. 13 and starting to justify a fee of 16 million pounds ($21 million).
Manager Bilic has revealed that he wanted to sign Hernandez when United released him two years ago following a season-long loan to Real Madrid.
“It probably helped him to make his mind up that he wanted to join us that he knew that I wanted him two years ago,” Bilic said.
“He’s very important to our project, a very important player.”