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 By Tom Marshall

Andre Villas-Boas: Chicharito nearly joined me at Tottenham, Zenit

Javier Hernandez nearly left Manchester United for Spurs, says Andre Villas-Boas.

Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas believes he was close to signing Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez while he was at Tottenham Hotspur and again at Zenit St. Petersburg, but the Mexican striker wanted to fight for his spot at Manchester United.

"I was close to signing Chicharito, I still have a very good relationship with him," said Villas-Boas in an interview with ESPN.

"He always said: 'Coach, I'm going to fight for my position [at United] and I'll fight until the end.'

"I told him that he should give me an opportunity that he should come, but no. He believed in himself a lot and that also excited me.

"In the end we weren't able to come to an agreement."

The 40-year-old manager is currently out of work since he left Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG, with Villas-Boas finding time to compete in the Dakar Rally in January.

Current West Ham United striker Hernandez eventually moved on loan from Old Trafford to Real Madrid for the 2014-15 season and then completed a permanent deal to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2015.

Villas-Boas is clearly not surprised that Hernandez, who joined West Ham last summer after two seasons in Germany, has been able to succeed in three of Europe's top leagues.

"[What stands out] as a player [is] his ability to lose his marker, to be in the right place to score a goal," stated the former Chelsea manager.

"That is what interested me most, as well as his speed in space.

"As a person, everything was excellent and I realized that when we spoke.

"It's important for a coach to have [players] that they can relate to in a direct way and I felt that sensation with him."

Hernandez is currently battling for the starting spot under David Moyes at West Ham, who play away at Swansea next Saturday.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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