Getting priorities right
After struggling all season, surely the last thing Melbourne Victory can afford is to let Carlos Hernandez go.
Carlos Hernandez is an entertainer, something that doesn-t come along too often in the Hyundai A-League.
He-s that rare breed of player who can go a whole match without doing much before winning it with a moment of individual brilliance, and is arguably the A-League-s David Beckham from the dead ball. He was even considered by the Los Angeles Galaxy as a replacement for Becks, had the latter have left that club at the end of his last contract.
Victory fans love him too, but when their own “King Carlos” turned and waved to the AAMI Park faithful after scoring the opener in trademark fashion against Wellington Victory (a scything drive that left Mark Paston stranded) the feeling seemed to be that this was their king saying goodbye.
The reality is, Hernandez, since Jim Magilton arrived, has seemed to be far from the Northern Irishman-s favourite player, with the interim coach even benching the Costa Rican, despite the fact that the mercurial midfielder has probably been his most potent attacking weapon this season.
Even before the final weekend of the home-and-away season, Magilton said he would like to keep Hernandez but admitted he didn-t want a player who didn-t want to be at the club.
"You want total commitment and if you don't have total commitment, you don't really want them at your football club," he said on Hernandez.
"You want people here who want to be here and who want to take part in whatever is going to happen.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement, the coach again questioning one of his players- commitment to the club, but in reality it-s the club-s commitment to Carlos that is in question.
Hernandez has been described as being disillusioned and perplexed with Victory-s contract negotiations, but as usual, the man himself has made no comments.
But where there is smoke, there-s usually a player looking for an exit... Hernandez was linked with a move to Uzbekistan at one stage, and with teammate Jean Carlos Solorzano set to head home to Costa Rica, he could go there too.
But why wouldn-t Victory do everything they could to keep a player like the 2010 Johnny Warren Medallist happy?
Instead, they put off his negotiations until the end of the season while moving heaven and earth to get Julius Doe Davies and signed Adama Traore.
Granted they need defenders and Traore is a talented one, but is it more important to keep the house in order before going out looking for more furniture?
For the Victory-s part it seems the $250,000 price tag Hernandez commands that seems to be the sticking point, but surely he is worth the investment?
What Victory certainly won-t want is for Hernandez to turn out next year in the red of Adelaide or the Sky Blue of Sydney FC, but both are possibilities, which could mimic the situation of another Carlos.
Carlos Tevez was reportedly forced out of Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson over a contract dispute, despite wanting to stay.
Tevez-s acrimonious move across Manchester wasn-t exactly an amicable separation - could we yet to see some cheeky billboards in Adelaide or Sydney?
Surely Victory would want to avoid the contempt of their fans by letting their most gifted player leave for one of their biggest rivals?
It-s yet another messy situation in a season Victory are no doubt looking to leave behind, but they need to be decisive or face losing one of the A-League-s greatest and most marketable talents.