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?

  • Ranger

    great measured article

  • Peter duval

    All positives …. A Spanish international creative midfielder … Let’s be positive and predict that he should be (all things equal) one of the stars of this league

    • henrymouni

      It might take him a while to get match fit, but he may be the ‘Gordon Strachan’ type player we have been crying out for!!
      It will be interesting to see the opening line up against QPR.
      The manager has been pretty cagey up to now.

  • henrymouni

    Great news if he stays fit.
    Quality player with all the experience to harness the midfield.
    What about the dodgy defence??
    Charlie will be off soon, and if he is so keen to fill his pockets, he can go.
    Lets make sure we get top money for him!
    If we get Bridcutt, we will have a LOT of midfield players, warming the bench.
    We need a top centre back to marshall the defence, and a new left back.
    MOT!!
    Won’t be long now!!

    • Matthew

      >Charlie will be off soon, and if he is so keen to fill his pockets, he can go.
      Lol. Nothing to do with how a certain owner has ran the club since his arrival right?

      • henrymouni

        No.
        Charlie and agent made their mind up and would not even discuss a contract.
        Massimo has been a pain, but if he loved the club he would at least discuss a contract.
        His 2 pals have gone and are earning big money, even if they all end up warming the bench!
        Twas ever thus!

        • rlashmore

          Are they his real pals or just blokes who were in the Academy and first teams around the same time.

          • henrymouni

            I suppose the clubs total lack of ambition over the last 12 years has not helped either.
            We must give our talented youth more than a 1 year contract!!

          • Matthew

            But who will pay the legal bills if all of the talented youth are on long contracts? It’d be difficult to say their heads have been turned if they’re all sitting on 3-4 year deals.

        • Matthew

          The thing is, do you honestly believe what the club, or what Cellinos mouthpiece(Mansford) says?

          • henrymouni

            No!

    • Peter duval

      Hernandez could be a revelation… We could with a couple more players have one of the best if not the best squad in the Premier League. I am not a great fan of Wood, yet i think with the right service he will prove to be a useful striker.. Teams these days need to be aware of their best 11 but completion and cover for each position is required.. i recall when we had the choice of Viduka, Fowler, Smith and Keane.. Let Taylor leave get 6 million and use the cash to buy Henry and Mawson… We would then have the best back 4 in the championship.. We have a lot of midfielders but i would off-load Murphy and Diagouraga.. Get Bridcutt giving us the following;
      a line up…….. Bridcutt, Vieria …….Hernandez…….Roofe, Antonsson, Sacko
      b line up………Phillips, Grimes…… Mowatt………….Botaka, Wood, Dallas
      This would i believe give us what we need to mount a serious challenge……….

  • rlashmore

    Agree on Wood.
    He’s the squads main striker. Give him enough ammunition and I think he’ll do a really good job. Very keen on Roofe around him too.

    Now onto the defense.

  • Chareose

    People need to wake up, Byrams transfer was engineered, so was Mccormack, Cook ?? well he just gave in to the inevitable and took an opportunity to leave the sinking ship thus saving Cellino the need to deliberately unsettle him

    Byram = offered a reduced contract …is he going to stay ?? Yeah right
    Taylor = offered an extension to his current shitty deal…. is he going to stay ??? Yeah right

    Then afterwards cellino just makes out that he tried to keep them……….

    Hes done this every year where ever hes been

    He got Cagliari on the back of his dads money and these football clubs are his way of earning his own cash like his daddy, just take a percentage off the transfers, buy in some cheap replacements and youth gambles that may or may not provide funds next time………….

    Spin a bit of PR and all the leeds fall for it hook line and sinker

    So Monk gets us promoted, Leeds do really well but then Manure offer 30 m for one of our players………….yeah right…. KACHING !!! every time, you know it