COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Crew officially announced Tuesday it has acquired Colombian forward Juan Camilo “Cucho” Hernandez.
According to a source close to the Crew, the 23 year old will come to Columbus from English club Watford for a record transfer fee of just over $10 million in a designated player deal. The transfer fee makes Hernandez the most expensive player in Crew history and the 7th most expensive signing in MLS history.
Hernandez transaction fee surpasses that of Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan who was acquired by Columbus in January 2020 for a $7 million transfer fee.
Hernandez scored five goals in the English Premier League last season for Watford and will be the Crew’s new starting striker. The former starting No. 9 Gyasi Zardes was traded to the Colorado Rapids earlier this season.
“Cucho is a world-class player who is still at an early stage of his career, and we could not be more excited to welcome him to the Columbus Crew,” said Columbus Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Our goal was to sign a forward who would not only be an individual attacking threat, but who would make us more dangerous as a team. Cucho is a versatile attacker whose agility, mobility and unpredictability make him a constant threat for opponents as he has demonstrated while playing against top-level opponents in some of the best leagues in Europe.”
The Pereira-born forward made his professional debut with Deportivo Pereira of Colombia’s Second Division in 2015, making 20 appearances and scoring three goals in his first season.
In 2016, his second season with Deportivo Pereira, Hernandez scored 20 goals and provided four assists to finish as the leading scorer of Colombia’s Second Division. Following his outstanding 2016 performance, Hernandez signed with America de Cali of the Colombian topflight.
After spending the first half of 2017 with America de Cali, Hernandez played for Spanish Second Division side S.D. Huesca from 2017-2019. In his first season in Spain, the forward helped Huesca earn promotion to LaLiga, Spain’s First Division.
In all, Hernandez played for Huesca from 2017-2019, making 70 appearances while registering 20 goals and nine assists. The Colombian striker then joined LaLiga side RCD Mallorca for the 2019-2020 season, making 24 appearances while tallying five goals and one assist.
Hernandez played for LaLiga side Getafe CF from 2020-2021, making 23 appearances, scoring two goals and providing three assists.