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Mercato Madness: Chicharito eyes Italy move, with Napoli on the radar

The crown jewel of the Mexican national team is likely on the move this summer after his loan spell at Real Madrid, and Napoli might be on his shortlist of preferred destinations to get away from Manchester United.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

It's been a bit of a rough year for Javier Hernandez. Out of favor at Manchester United, the Mexico national team star went on loan at Real Madrid for the season, hoping to re-establish himself as a legitimate star after slowly fading from the limelight as a secondary piece at Manchester.

Much of the season has been a struggle for the 26 year old striker, with Hernandez struggling to get regular minutes or make much of an impact at Real Madrid. Part of that was a lack of performance, and part of that was Karim Benzema staying healthy and playing extremely well. Recently, though, he's been playing very well, stepping in for an injured Benzema and playing at a high level, scoring four goals and bagging three assists during his one solid run of matches this season.

Now with the end of the season and his Madrid loan rapidly approaching, it's almost time to figure out what the next step is for Hernandez. It's unlikely that Madrid keep him, and even less likely that Louis Van Gaal will decide to keep him at Old Trafford. With just a year left on Chicharito's contract, United will need to sell him this summer or lose him on a free a year from now.

Apparently, Hernandez is strongly considering a move to Italy this summer to give himself a better blend of playing time and quality of play then he's been able to get the last few years. To that end, he's apparently got Napoli on a shortlist of teams for him to join, an idea would be very enticing to some fans. At his best, Hernandez is a top-shelf poacher, and his physical talents and skillset would fit a good Serie A team wonderfully.

Of course, when he's not at his best, Chicharito doesn't offer you a lot, so there's that to consider as well. If he's not scoring, he doesn't have the same dynamic skillset as someone like Gonzalo Higuain to keep him contributing, but his skillset fits Serie A well enough to potentially keep him in runs of goalscoring form more often than he has over the last few years.

The trouble for Chicharito isn't that he's not a good player, it's that he's been a very good player on teams with great strikers ahead of him on the depth chart. If Napoli sell Higuain, Hernandez would finally have a chance at a team wanting to make him the focus of their side, an opportunity he'd embrace and run with at all speed. And at a rumored price of €12 million, he'd only take up a small portion of a potential fee for selling Higuain, allowing Napoli to use the rest for other much-needed squad additions.

It seems like a long shot and not something especially likely to happen, but the idea of Chicharito in Naples is a fun one to consider. He's a good player and well worth consideration should Napoli need to buy a striker this summer, especially since it'd also keep him away from Roma and Milan.