‘He is that good’: Leeds signing Mateo Joseph Fernandez lauded
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'He is that good': Leeds signing Mateo Joseph Fernandez lauded

Leeds United fans eager to find out more about their first signing of the January transfer window will be very intrigued to hear what Espanyol’s former head of recruitment for the academy has told The Times regarding what he used to say to elite clubs who would make contact asking about Mateo Joseph Fernandez.

Fernandez’s move to Elland Road was confirmed earlier this month. As reported by The Times, he has penned a three-and-a-half year deal with the Whites.

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The 18-year-old arrives having attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool. And The Times reports that he scored 40 goals during his final year with Espanyol.

Understandably, Leeds have a mixed record when it comes to signing young players from elsewhere. For every Joe Gelhardt, there are probably two or three players who have struggled to kick on and live up to expectations at Thorp Arch.

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So some fans will be reluctant to get carried away about Fernandez. However, they can certainly take plenty of encouragement from comments made by Robert Cuesta.

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The Times reports that Cuesta played a key role in Espanyol signing the teenager. And he remained at the club until 2020. And in the interview, he outlined just what he used to say when bigger clubs asked about the forward.

“Several elite clubs called me to ask for references for Mateo Joseph,” he told The Times. “My answer was always the same: ‘You are wasting your time talking to me. Just sign him because he is that good.’ But in those moments you realise that even in Spain we don’t appreciate our own talent.”

Fernandez has brilliant opportunity to establish himself in Leeds under-23 side

It seems highly unlikely that Marcelo Bielsa will be picking Fernandez anytime soon. Obviously, that could change if the Whites’ injury problems get much worse.

But there is definitely an opportunity for Fernandez to quickly make himself a key part of the under-23 side.

Leeds have several players who can play up front. However, Gelhardt looks to be a first-team player now. Meanwhile, Sam Greenwood and Max Dean can easily feature in other roles.

Cuesta is clearly confident about Fernandez. It certainly appears that he could be a very special talent indeed.

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