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Columbus Crew finalizes record deal for Cucho Hernandez

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Since the preseason, and publicly since Gyasi Zardes was traded to the Colorado Rapids on April 22, the Columbus Crew’s transfer focus was on adding a designated player at forward who could have a significant offensive impact. Now the club is close, with sources close to the situation confirming to Massive Report that a record deal is imminent for Watford FC striker Juan “Cucho” Hernandez, who played last season in the English Premier League before being relegated. it will probably be completed and announced next week. The contract is a multi-year deal worth more than $10 million.

While more details are expected in the coming days, Massive Report has learned that Hernandez will sign a multi-year DP deal with the Crew and the transfer fee for the Watford player is in excess of $10 million. This deal would break the club’s previous record transfer fee spent of approximately $8 million spent on midfielder Lucas Zelarayan before the 2020 season.

Hernandez checks all the boxes for what head coach Caleb Porter and Black & Gold want in a forward. The Colombian is 23 years old, has experience playing professionally in Colombia, Spain and England and has the potential to be a prolific goalscorer in Major League Soccer.

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However, it’s not just scoring goals that Hernandez brings to Columbus. Cucho has experience from set pieces, has played on the wings on the front three – although he will be a Crew forward – and has shown a great willingness to press in the offensive half of the field. The Colombian international is a threat on both sides of the ball. Although his 5-foot-9 height doesn’t fit the usual striker prototype Porter has used, Hernandez still averages more than three aerial challenges won per game, a clip higher than most forwards in MLS. .

Massive Report has learned that Hernandez has already been to Columbus for a physical and tour of the OhioHealth Performance Center. Hernandez, who has since left the US, will not see the field right away due to visa details and the transfer window.

Once Hernandez’s visa is obtained and all the paperwork is completed, he can start training with the team, but he won’t see the field until the summer transfer window opens on July 7. That puts a tentative debut for the forward on July 9 when the Crew travels. to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Fire.

The forward comes to Columbus after joining Watford in 2017. During his time with the Hornets, Hernández was on loan in Spain. Initially, Watford sent the striker to Huesca of the Spanish Second Division. Hernández led Huesca in scoring with 17 goals and was second on the team in assists with six. Huesca earned Hernandez’s game promotion to La Liga, the highest division of Spanish football.

The new Columbus striker’s production sank over the next two seasons, jumping between teams in La Liga. In 2022, Watford retained Hernández’s services on the pitch and in 11 Premier League starts, Hernández scored five goals and assisted on two. Watford relegated after finishing in 19ththe place in the Premier League table with just 23 points.

With the excitement, there is an area to watch closely. In April, Hernández suffered a hamstring injury that almost sidelined him for the rest of the season. Fortunately for Hernandez, he returned for 19 minutes off the bench against Chelsea on May 22. Since then, Hernández played 45 minutes as a second-half substitute against Saudi Arabia in an international friendly.

Hernandez joins a Crew roster that needs more from the forward position. In 14 games, the Black & Gold have five goals from forwards, with current forwards Erik Hurtado and Miguel Berry scoring two each and Zardes scoring one against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 5.

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