Why Leeds United have struck gold with a new deal for Pablo Hernandez
The 34-year-old’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the ongoing season but the Whites moved quickly to extend the Spaniard’s stay in West Yorkshire by a further 24 months.
Hernandez worked wonders for Leeds in the previous campaign, as the West Yorkshire giants made it all the way through to the playoffs. However, he hasn’t started a single league game since September due to an injury this term.
The former Spanish international, who racked up 12 goals and 12 assists in 41 appearances for the Whites in the Championship the last term, kicked on from where he had signed off in the previous campaign.
In fact, he put in a match-winning display in the 3-1 victory over Bristol City in August.
The former Valencia man followed it up with a goal in the 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest in the subsequent fixture and fired on all cylinders in the first quarter of the campaign before an injury ruled him out.
Marcelo Bielsa has shown signs of easing Hernandez back into action, following his return from a spell on the sidelines. The manager has been affording him cameos off the bench in victories over QPR and Blackburn Rovers ahead of the international break.
With back-to-back away fixtures against Reading and Luton Town coming up, it would be a real boost for Leeds if Hernandez can recover fully and regain his form.
Jack Harrison, who has chipped in with 2 goals and 4 assists in his last 6 Championship outings, has risen to the occasion to fill the void left in the veteran’s absence. That said, Hernandez still remains indispensable to the club’s hopes of securing an automatic promotion place.
To put things into perspective, Pablo Hernandez has been one of the Championship’s most creative players ever since his arrival at Leeds United.
The veteran has turned the clock back numerous times over the past 12 months to rip defences apart.
Suffice to say, the ex-Swansea City star, who boasts of 29 goals and 32 assists in 132 appearances for Leeds across all competitions, still has a lot to offer at the age of 34.
Now, the Whites can now look forward to enjoying his services until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
As per whoscored, Hernandez racked up a staggering 122 key passes in the Championship last season, averaging 3 per game.
His average of 2.2 key passes per game this term once again puts him head and shoulders above most of his teammates in terms of creativity, with Mateusz Klich being the only other player to match those numbers.
Hernandez has certainly done enough to earn the new deal. And he has become the latest Leeds United player to pledge his future to the club, following the footsteps of Mateusz Klich, Stuart Dallas, Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling and Leif Davis.
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All in all, Leeds United keeping hold of the influential playmaker beyond next summer is certainly a step in the right direction.