Graham Ruthven: Javier Hernandez is the answer to Tottenham’s Kane problem

With Harry Kane now out until March, Graham Ruthven feels Javier Hernandez might be the best option to replace the Tottenham talisman…

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Every club has one, a player that is perpetually linked with said club transfer window after transfer window.

For Manchester United, it was, for years, Wesley Sneijder. For Arsenal, it was, and continues to be, Karim Benzema. And for a long time, Spurs had Javier Hernandez, a player they seemingly targeted for seasons.

Of course, a move never materialised. When Hernandez left Manchester United, he left for Germany. When he returned to the Premier League, he signed for West Ham.

Now, though, with Hernandez expected to depart the Hammers this month, Spurs should swoop for the Mexican striker.

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That might seem like an absurd suggestion. This writer is well aware of that. However, there is a credible case to be made.

With Harry Kane now expected to be sidelined through injury until March at least, Spurs need a centre forward this month and Hernandez could be the solution. He could keep their season on track.

Hernandez would not be the perfect signing. The perfect signing would be someone like Callum Wilson or Timo Werner. However, both of those players would break Spurs’ transfer record, with Bournemouth demanding £75m for Wilson.

Given the way Daniel Levy has tightened the purse strings in recent times, spending not a penny in the summer, it’s highly unlikely that Spurs would spend such a sizeable amount on one player.

Nonetheless, Spurs still need a striker. Hernandez would be a stopgap solution until the end of the season. Valencia are keen to take the Mexican on loan and Spurs should look to do a similar sort of deal, meaning they wouldn’t have to spend any money.

West Ham are digging their heels in on allowing Hernandez to leave and so a loan fee might be required to grease the rails on any such deal, but these fees don’t normally amount to much.

This is a role Hernandez has already played before in his career. He joined Real Madrid on loan from Man Utd in similar circumstances, acting only as a squad player at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Nonetheless, Hernandez proved a worthy addition, scoring a number of important goals for Real, including a Champions League quarter-final winner against Atletico Madrid.

Spurs have long struggled to find a deputy to serve beneath Kane. They signed Fernando Llorente, and while the Spaniard has proven himself in a certain role, he is not capable of fully stepping into Kane’s shoes.

They splurged £20m on Vincent Janssen, the Dutch forward who has now been frozen out at Spurs.

Mauricio Pochettino now finds himself in a difficult situation, particularly with Heung Min-Son now unavailable due to his participation in the Asian Cup for the next few weeks, but it’s a situation that the Argentine might have anticipated.

It’s entirely natural that Spurs should be dependent on a player of Kane’s quality, but to have nobody to step in when he is absent verges on neglect.

However, Spurs must do the best with the hand they now have, and that should involve an approach for Hernandez. If there is no money available to make a permanent signing, then the Mexican international is probably the best they could hope for this month. What’s more, he would be a decent fit for Pochettino’s system, even if he is more of a poacher than Kane.

Any deal for Hernandez could be complicated by the ongoing saga concerning Marko Arnautovic’s future at West Ham.

The Austrian is still trying to force through a move to China and so if he were successful in that, it’s unlikely that the Hammers would sanction Hernandez’s departure in the same transfer window. That could scupper things.

Following defeat to Man Utd at the weekend and Kane’s injury, Spurs’ season is at risk of falling apart. Their title challenge is already in tatters.

There is still time to correct the course of their campaign, though, and finding a deputy for Kane would go some way to doing that.

Hernandez, despite the initial absurdity of the suggestion, would fit the bill.

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