Chicharito reveals reason for West Ham number change which ends exit talk

The Mexico international striker is the Hammers' new No. 9, with his decision to take that shirt seemingly bringing all transfer rumours to a close

Javier Hernandez has revealed the reasons behind his number change at West Ham, with the decision to take No. 9 seemingly bringing any transfer talk to a close.

The Mexico international has filled the 17 shirt for the Hammers since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2017.

That is because the No. 14 he favoured at Manchester United, Real Madrid and with his country was already taken by Pedro Obiang.

Summer departures at the London Stadium in the current window have freed up alternative options, with Marko Arnautovic and Andy Carroll giving up numbers seven and nine respectively.

Hernandez has inherited one of those, with the 31-year-old now the main striker for Manuel Pellegrini despite further rounds of speculation linking him with a switch elsewhere.

“I changed my number because I wanted to change it!” Chicharito told West Ham’s official website.

“There was a possibility to change the number and there were two numbers available – nine and seven – and [Andriy] Yarmolenko told me he really wanted seven, which was the number I wore in Leverkusen and I said ‘Yes, don’t worry, I’ll take number nine’.

“When I was in Mexico, I wouldn’t have known the number 14 was going to be as big in my career as it was, because as a striker you normally play with those numbers.

“I played in all my World Cups and for my other clubs [Manchester United and Real Madrid] in the number 14 and I changed my number for the first time in my whole career when I signed for Leverkusen.

“Then, when I signed here, the 17 was available and I took it. Now another number is so I took the number nine.

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“People are going to take any interpretation they want but, for me, it is the player who makes the player always, and not the number who makes the player.”

Hernandez was back in action for the Hammers on Saturday as they took on Newcastle in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

He took in 45 minutes of action against the Magpies, with Pellegrini’s side slipping to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a solitary strike from Yoshinori Muto.