The Life of Pablo Calum Archibald August 1, 2016 Leeds United 14 Comments Pablo Hernandez, former Spanish international footballer, albeit 4 caps, certainly gives Leeds United & Garry Monk a well needed boost ahead of the new season. But what does it actually mean as we hit the competitive fixtures? Monk is set on a 4-2-3-1 formation. Hernandez can play as either a winger or as a number 10, behind the striker, which is a position that had lacked competition or any real threat for some time in a white shirt. Arguably not since Howson has a player who can adeptly slot in behind the strikers featured regularly for the club, and with a lack of goals from midfield last season, it’s not hard to see how a technically gifted attacking midfielder could make the difference. At 31, Hernandez has vast experience and will likely not spend more than 2 seasons at Elland Road, but with a limited budget and looking for marginal gains, Hernandez is a player that could fit the bill perfectly. It is also proving evident that Monk and his assistant Pep Clotet are using their contacts to find players they’ve previously worked with, with Bartley and Grimes coming in from former club Swansea, while Hernandez was also there as a player with Monk and while he was manager. We’re working on a tight budget. Okay, so Lewis Cook has gone and we’re wrangling over the fee for Liam Bridcutt, and the signing spree earlier in July seems to have been offset by the initial fee received for Cook. Now that’s obviously not great news, but what has been done, is a manager and backroom staff appointed that have growing reputations in the game, and that will spend time developing a system to play in. As the European Championships showed, a solid system that is suited to the players at your disposal can outweigh a team of greater ability. Iceland, Wales and Portugal being the best examples, and Wales in particular proved that this doesn’t have to be with ‘negative’ tactics, and that adapting is key. The signings made are indicative of a clear system, and should Bridcutt join, then the first XI barring injuries and suspensions is one that could, if everything goes right, compete in the top half of the table. Hernandez is one that has the potential to be a fantastic signing, his previous experience at Valencia and in parts at Swansea show he has exceptional ability on his day, and with dropping down a level to the Championship, that could be key. This summer represents a major change in transfer policy. Summer 2014 saw an influx of signings from Italy, with many of them flattering to deceive, and most departing since. Cooper, Ajose and Sharp joined as the main British targets, with Sharp and Ajose being Hockaday’s signings, but both of them had left by the start of the next season. Last summer saw Wood and Dallas join as Rosler sought to boost his squad, but most of the previous summers signings were persisted with. Summer 2016 saw Monk arrive, clearly aware that the squad needed work, and Bianchi and Bellusci departed before pre-season, while Silvestri was sent to train with the U21’s. He has used the extra funds to boost his squad, knowing that he is working with finite resources he has identified key positions that needed strengthening, and clearly wingers and attacking players are at the forefront of that. Roofe, Sacko, Antonsson and now Hernandez offering more options that what was essentially Dallas as an attacking midfielder/winger last season. Garry Monk has more power than all his predecessors, but that is because it’s reaching the point where failure is no longer an option, and Massimo Cellino knows that, hence the slight relinquishing of his control. Make no mistake, Pablo Hernandez is not a player that will automatically catapult Leeds United into the promotion race, but it gives the squad a different dimension. It also adds an experienced player to a squad which is built around a lot of players in the early to middle years of their careers, a player that at times will be relied upon to create for Chris Wood. Wood is a player who can be a threat in this division, who despite 2 months out injured and a lack of creativity last season, was Leeds’ top scorer with 13 league goals, and at times he looked out of sorts. Imagine what a fully-fit Chris Wood with proper ammunition could do?