Why Leeds United should reignite their interest in Abel Hernandez
Back in the summer of 2018, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Leeds United were interested in signing Uruguayan international striker Abel Hernandez, who was then a free agent following his departure from Hull City.
However, Leeds eventually pulled the plug on a deal for the 29-year-old due to his patchy injury record and ultimately ended up signing Patrick Bamford from Middlesbrough.
The Uruguayan went on to join CSKA Moscow on a three-year contract last summer, albeit he was released at the end of the 2018-19 season by mutual consent following an injury-stricken campaign where he managed just 15 appearances for the Russian heavyweights.
Currently plying his trade in the Middle East with Qatari club Al Ahli, Hernandez has rediscovered his goalscoring mojo this term, putting in a number of impressive displays early in the campaign.
The 29-year-old is still performing at the peak of his powers and a move back to Europe should not be beyond the realms of possibility should he manage to keep up his fitness levels.
Leeds, meanwhile, reclaimed top spot in the Championship with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over promotion rivals West Brom on Tuesday night, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side got their campaign back on track after a disappointing draw against Derby County and an unexpected defeat away at Charlton Athletic.
Lack of goals from the centre-forwards was one of the key talking points from Leeds’ failed surge for promotion last term and while Patrick Bamford’s resurgence early in the ongoing campaign silenced the critics, things have threatened to get back to the same old ways in recent weeks.
Bamford, who scored 4 goals in his first 6 Championship outings, has failed to find the net even once the Whites’ previous six league fixtures. The Yorkshire giants rallied on to claim all three points against West Brom but the former Chelsea man was pretty underwhelming yet again.
The presence of a 20-goal-a-season striker is indispensable to the promotion hopes of any team in the Championship and if Leeds are really serious about ending their long exile from the Premier League, they can ill-afford to rely on someone like Bamford, who occasionally comes to life with a few goals and then suffers from a prolonged dry spell up top.
Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah has, of course, chipped in with a few crucial strikes while Tyler Roberts is another exciting striking prospect in their ranks but the absence of a prolific and powerful striker up front could once again prove to be a major Achilles heel in Leeds’ pursuit of promotion when the race goes down to the wire later on in the season.
To that end, Leeds United reigniting their interest in Abel Hernandez would definitely make a lot of sense and the Uruguayan’s arrival could end the club’s long wait for a bonafide goalscorer. When fit, the 29-year-old can be a devastating presence in front of goal with his instinctive nature.
A veteran of 29 caps for Uruguay at the international level, Hernandez also boasts of a keen eye for defence-splitting through balls, while he also possesses the required skill set to bring others into play with some good link-up in the final third.
Hernandez bagged 39 goals and 10 assists in 110 appearances over the course of a fruitful spell at Hull City, including a 21-goal haul in the 2015-16 season to propel the Tigers to Premier League promotion.
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Suffice to say, he is an international footballer with a lot of experience and Leeds should look at him as a striker with proven pedigree at the Championship level.
With that in mind, Leeds reigniting their interest in Abel Hernandez would certainly be a wise move and one that would take them a step closer to the Premier League.