Leeds United supporters have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side’s miserable Championship run continue courtesy of a 2-1 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Paul Heckingbottom’s men went into their clash with their Yorkshire rivals having won just one of their preceding 13 league matches, a run of form which has all but ended their hopes of a top six finish. And the Whites were unable to get back to winning ways at Elland Road on Saturday as well, as an Atdhe Nuhiu brace either side of a Jay-Roy Grot equaliser secured all three points for Jos Luhukay’s Wednesday, thus instigating Leeds’ fall to 14th place in the Championship table.
Subsequently, there have been many downbeat and disappointed Leeds fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are sincerely hoping that their team can at least finish the campaign strongly to build much-needed momentum heading into next season.
And many of those Leeds supporters lining up at the bar are already turning their attentions towards the summer and what business their side may look to do, and there is one agreement in particular which is standing out among our resident Whites fans, namely tying Pablo Hernandez down to a new deal.
Ultimately, the Spaniard has proven his worth to the Yorkshire giants since moving to the club first on loan in 2016 and then permanently in 2017, netting 13 goals and laying on 17 assists in 74 appearances for the second tier club.
And with seven goals and eight assists of which coming this season, it’s clear that the 32-year-old remains a hugely influential figure at Elland Road, and possesses the sort of technical quality the club will need next year if they are to maintain a serious Championship promotion push.
Be it in an attacking midfield position, from which he laid on an assist in defeat to Wednesday at the weekend, or down the right wing, where he netted a fine goal in the 2-2 draw with Reading nine days ago, Hernandez adds significant quality to this Leeds attack, while his set-piece delivery more often than not poses a huge threat.
Alongside fellow attackers Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski, both of whom have made fine starts to life at Elland Road this season, Hernandez adds another excellent option in that role just behind the frontman, even if he is unlikely to be able to play all 46 games of a Championship season.
It would be harsh though to list him simply as a squad player, as the 32-year-old brings genuine attacking quality whenever he is on the pitch – he has created more chances than any other Leeds player this season (69), while his tally of 12 direct contributions in the league is the same as Saiz, and one more than Alioski.
Clearly, Hernandez remains an extremely important player for Leeds and one who continues to influence matches when he is on the field. And they will continue to need that next season if they are to sustain a promotion push.
Thus, manager Heckingbottom simply must urge owner Andrea Radrizzani to secure an agreement with the 32-year-old ace this summer.
Leeds fans… what do you think? Let us know!