With the current campaign petering out slowly for Leeds United fans, thoughts, andsingle eye perhaps, are cast towards next season and the summer transfer window.
New boss Paul Heckingbottom has been very pointed on the matter that the current players need to really show him what they’ve got in terms of spirit and attitude. Much has been said that Leeds United’s transfer budget will be less come the summer than it was last summer, causing many Whites fans to think about who may be heading out of the club.
One player yet to sign a new deal at Elland Road is Spanish playmaker Pablo Hernandez. Henandez signed for the Whites originally from Qatari side Al Arabi during the January 2017 transfer window, later signing a permanent deal. His first half-season as a Leeds United player returned an impressive six goals and eight assists, earning him a contract extension for this season.
It is a season where the Spaniard has gone on to show more than glimpses of the importance he’s had as a member of the Leeds United squad. Headline figures for the attacking midfielder show a last half-season matching return of six goals and eight assists – his latest goal coming in today’s 2-1 win over Bolton.
Leeds United boss Heckingbottom has gone on record as saying that things aren’t as simple as they might seem when it comes to the matter of rewarding the diminutive Spanish playmaker with a new deal. His partner, pregnant with their second child, has returned to Spain in readiness to give birth. Heckingbottom has said that the club do need to consider a series of assurances that the Spaniard might wish to consider.
However, after his starring role in Leeds’ 2-1 win over Bolton in front of a 35,000+ crowd, BBC Radio Leeds match commentators were adamant that snapping up Hernandez on an extended deal should be nothing short of priority #1 for the Whites when it comes to next summer’s transfer window.
In the after-match analysis, on BBC Radio Leeds, of today’s win, they were effusive about the effect that Spaniard Hernandez had on the result – and how he will be of benefit to the side next season. Adam Pope said of the salsa star, “Leeds United bought quantity in the summer. There’s one player here who’s quality.”
Noel Whelan then followed up Popey’s comment with an observation of his own regarding Hernandez. Speaking of the impressive Spaniard, the former Leeds United striker said, “He’s got that little bit of extra specialness. Is that a word? If not I’m creating one.”
Whichever way you choose to look at it, Pablo Hernandez has been a creative tour de force for Leeds United this season, often proving to be the edge that the Whites have fallen back and relied on. It would make sense that they pull out the stops to snap him up before he leaves at the end of the season on an out-of-contract deal.