Talks to bring Bayer Leverkusen and Mexico forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez to Major League Soccer expansion side Los Angeles FC have cooled in large part because of salary demands, multiple league sources have told ESPN FC.
Hernandez has been the subject of bids by MLS teams several times in the past, including a period in 2015 when both the Chicago Fire and Orlando City expressed interest. On that occasion, his desire to remain in Europe and play in the UEFA Champions League prevented a deal from getting done.
Now it's Hernandez's salary demands that have proven to be a stumbling block, with one source saying they've turned the talks "stone cold."
When talks between Hernandez and MLS surfaced back in February, a league source said the annual salary would be around $9 million -- not including payment for image rights -- with the hope that the player would join the league after his contract expired in the summer of 2018.
Now, one source indicates that the annual salary being asked is "way north of $10 million." With LAFC trying to acquire Hernandez's services before his contract expires, there would also be a sizable transfer fee involved, all of which has effectively put LAFC out of the market for the Mexico international.
There remains a possibility, however remote, that another MLS team could express interest, as the LA Galaxy have also been linked with Hernandez, but there is competition from overseas as well. A report in L'Equipe indicated that Hernandez has drawn interest from Lyon, as the French club attempts to find a replacement for Alexandre Lacazette, who is reportedly on his way to Atletico Madrid.
Hernandez, 28, has spent the bulk of his career in Europe. He broke in with Chivas Guadalajara in 2006, but his breakout season came in the 2009 Torneo Apertura and 2010 Torneo Bicentenario, when he scored 21 goals in 28 league matches. Those performances caught the eye of Manchester United, and Hernandez moved to the club before the 2010-11 campaign.
Hernandez's first season with United saw him score 20 goals in 45 matches, but his influence gradually waned. After scoring a total of 50 goals for United in 157 league and cup appearances, he was loaned to Real Madrid for the 2014-15 campaign. Hernandez scored nine goals in 33 matches for Los Blancos.
He eventually secured a transfer to Leverkusen prior to the 2015-16 season, where he revived his career, scoring 26 goals in 40 matches. He suffered a significant drop-off during the 2016-17 campaign, 13 times in 38 league and cup appearances.
Hernandez is tied with Jared Borgetti for the title of all-time top scorer for El Tri with 46 goals in 90 appearances.