This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– our directory for these (over 20!) is here. This series analyses a selection of significant newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using last season’s stats (wherever they played) in FPL, then provide our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the new season.

On 24th July, West Ham confirmed the signing of Mexican international Javier Hernandez – known as Chicharito – from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen:

The transfer was reportedly worth £16m.

Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)

So how good would the Little Pea have been in FPL if he played last season? Let’s use WhoScored data to find out.

Appearances: 26 appearances (20 over 60 mins, 6 times sub on/off) = 46 points ((20×2) + 6)

Goals: 11 goals (4×11) = 44 points

Assists: 3 assists (3×3) = 9 points

Bonus: To give an estimation of the bonus points he would have got, we need to review the games that he was instrumental in, ie when his goals and assists arrived to come to a rough calculation of how well he did.

(Occasional random bonus points (bps) are sometimes awarded in FPL where a player has bossed it but not actually got on the score card. We’re not estimating these as we’re using pure data rather than contextual data (e.g. watching the games he played in) to make perform this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)

For goals: this is best looked at by breaking down his contribution to games – where he was undisputed difference in the game, we will assign 3bps; where he was involved in changing the result but didn’t win the match, we’ll look at each game on merit; where he was on the scoresheet but it wasn’t a telling contribution, we will give the record of what happened and make an educated guesstimate on what may have been awarded.

Match winning: Chicharito registered a hattie in the 3-2 defeat of Mainz on 24th September. He registered a brace against Frankfurt – including the opener, which the bonus point system would deem the winner, and second – in the 3-0 victory on 11th February. Like an orthodontist, the next week he was at it again with the braces, scoring the all-important second goal for Bayer, as well as the third, in the 3-1 defeat of Augsburg on 17th  February. For all of these three games I think 3bps is a more than likely outcome – 9bps overall.

Result change: The Mexican striker equalised to make it 1-1 with Frankfurt but went on to lose 2-1 on 17th September, and to compound the misery missed a penalty (he also missed another later in the season, ceding responsibility to personal Football Manager favourite Hakan Calhanoglu) to equalise again later on. He scored to put Leverkusen 2-0 up in the eventual 3-2 reverse in opposition Gladbach’s favour; Lars Stindl of Gladbach bagged a brace to help his side overturn the deficit. Finally, he scored the opener – and assisted the second – in the 6-2 goalfest victory over Hertha BSC on 20th May, with winger Kai Havertz bagging a brace. In the Frankfurt game, missing the penalty would likely have diminished his bonus claims. In the 3-2 loss, he may have been in line for 1bp; scoring and assisting in the Hertha game would put him below team mate Havertz, but 2bps seems feasible as the second highest contributor to the result. 3bps overall.

 Contributions: He added the second in the 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund on 1st October, but received a yellow card in that game, jeopardising any bonus.

          Total guessimated bonus for goals:  12 points

For assists: We’ve covered one of his three assists already. Of the remaining two, his first came in assisting the third goal of team mate Joel Pohjanpalo’s goal to complete his hat trick in the 3-1 victory over HSV on 10th September. The second came as he assisted the opener in the 3-1 victory over Hertha BSC on 22nd September. I doubt either would qualify him for bonus.

Total guesstimated bonus: 12 points.

Not converting: 2 missed penalties = -4 points

Disciplinary: 1 yellow cards = 1 points0 red cards

Scores on the doors

106 points over 26 games. This is a tough one to just make a points per game (ppg) score for, as for some games he barely figured, but for continuity let’s do this the same way. His ppg is therefore 4.08ppg, which works out at 155 points over 38 gameweeks.

That’s top 30 overall (level with Sadio Mane) and in the top 20 for strikers. Not too shabby for a 7.0 rated player.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if we looked at his minutes played, which was 1815 mins, that this translates into just 20 games (20.1, 1815/90).

Evaluation and conclusion

Will we Javier great option here?

Widely admired for his game-changing abilities in his time at Man United (as well as gaining fame for his “back header” goal), Chicharito is no stranger to the Premier League. The problem is that he, much newcomer Alvaro Morata, has never really been a consistent starter, meaning we can’t make like-for-like comparisons reasonably past on prior league performance. Hernandez has been cursed to some extent in that his clear “poacher” core skill is not as valued as it once was, with lone forwards expected to do far more than merely score goals nowadays. This necessitates some quick further research.

(Let me put in a caveat here: I know this is not the most scientific way to look at this, but I think that this is an easily understandable and accessible way to look at the player and his potential. This series is designed to give you a feel of what a player might be able to produce, and I think that this approach fits that aim well.)

His knack for changing games, though, is well earned, with an average of 0.68 goals a game – if we make his minutes onto the field into numbers of matches, that’s a goal every 140 minutes:

(n.b. stats taken from WhoScored prior to his signing so FPL assists may be a different number for older seasons at United)

That doesn’t sound too bad at all, especially if he’s the main man for West Ham – it seems his frustration with his time at every club since has been around that, and it’s unlikely Bilic will have signed him as a supersub. With this in mind, a score of around 150 seems more than OK.

With his guise as a diminutive goal-getter clear in our minds, an obvious comparator is new Bournemouth signing Jermain Defoe. He’s been a consistent threat in the Premier League down the years, and last season maintained his goal tally of the previous season with 15 goals scored and 166 points accrued, but was unable to keep the flotsam that was Sunderland from sinking to the depths. With similar skill sets, I’ve run the same analysis as I did for Hernandez for Defoe, which elicits the following outcome:

Though Defoe has clearly had more game time than Chicharito, his output relative to those minutes is much lower; he had a lot of competition at Spurs, which may explain the depression in results between 2010/11 and 2014/15 (n.b. this omits 2013/14 when he was in Toronto for some reason). Taking the 2009/10 season at Spurs and the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons at Sunderland when he was the main man, however, these averages decrease to an average of 178 mins per goal or a goal every 0.52 games. That’s actually quite close to Chicharito when we think about it; across these three seasons he’s scored an average of 16 goals and an average of… 151 points! Only 4 away from Chicharito’s grossed up amount. Playing for Spurs in 2009/10 (they weren’t so hot then) and relegation battling/victims Sunderland would, maybe, level out at around West Ham’s level… is 150 what we’d expect from him?

Scrabbling around for another like comparator led me to look at prior signings from the Bundesliga, which in turn led me to one who has treaded the path from Bayer Leverkusen to the Premier League: Son Heung Min. Not technically a striker according to FPL, but undoubtedly fielded in the role in Harry Kane’s absence at times in the past couple of seasons at Spurs, Son’s game is very much based on direct running and strikes at goal, with his shots per game last year at 2.3, ahead of Chichharito’s 2.0.  I’ve done the same analysis for Son as I have for Chicharito and Defoe:

This comes out as strikingly similar to Defoe (a goal every 219 mins v. Defoe’s 229 mins, an average of a goal every 0.43 games v Defoe’s 0.46) and again exceeded by Chicharito’s numbers. Son achieved 174 points last season, which, if we pare it down to a striker’s number by taking 1 away from goals scored (174-14 = 160) and also remove clean sheets (160-10) again gets us to… 150! Scores around this notch seems to be following us around with these comparators, and I think that that is a viable amount for the Mexican to come away with. It depends if he can play the whole time – he missed 6 games last year due to injury. Maybe, intuitively, somewhere between Troy Deeney’s 130 and the 150 seems reasonable to expect here.

(Here‘s all three side by side)

West Ham’s opening fixtures read mnu sou new HUD wba, which are mixed. I will most likely be hoping for a United demolition of them on day one with Lukaku ©. However, you can’t discount Chicharito back at his old club getting on the scoresheet (one of the old adages of FPL that on those days, birthdays and new babies there always seem to be goals…) and the fixtures after that seem like ones he could nick a goal or two in. West Ham don’t really have a long stretch of good fixtures, but between GW22 (on new year’s day) and GW27 they have a kind run which reads WBA hud BOU CPL bha WAT, which is looking like a good time to get the Little Pea in your side.

With the price for him announced at 7.0, we can feel a bit more excited about his prospects than if he was to be aligned with Tekkers and Defoe as I’d thought he might be. I’m a little surprised – pleasantly – by this. He fills a big gap in the striker directory for a decent third striker option at a fair price – with the aforementioned duo 8.0 apiece, it was hard to identify who to have there. The very kind 7.0 might make me pause for thought once more, with the potential value on offer very enticing indeed. The only spanner in the works may be Saints’ Charlie Austin, whose 6.5 valuation – if he is looking a guaranteed starter – could turn our heads from Chicharito at the last minute.

Overall rating: 4 / 5 – A good prospect for FPL (Nick says 3.5)

*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent

Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do.