Rumours are circulating that Leeds United could face a battle to retain midfielder Pablo Hernandez as interest hots up in his services, with his contract at Elland Road set to expire in the summer.
Birmingham City are believed to be one of the club’s monitoring the situation, with former club Gary Monk keen to reunite with the Spaniard, say Birmingham Live.
The news comes following Paul Heckingbottom’s quotes on his future as he told Leeds Live, “I’ve had chats with Pablo in terms of football, him himself, us as a club and everything was positive.”
“Pablo’s driven by football rather than money and things like that, he’s driven by his heart. He likes it here, his family’s settled here. So things like that are positive, always.
“But there could be other people turning his head, speaking in those terms with him, trying to capture his heart at other clubs and that’s the position we find ourselves in because of his contract situation.
“So we’ll try as hard as we can. He knows where I stand on it and that’s it, that’s all we can do.”
Granted, at 33 years of age he may not be the most profitable player for the club to return with any resale value likely to be very low, but for Leeds he has been a pivotal player this season.
Only Kemar Roofe and Pierre-Michel Lasogga have scored more goals this term, with Hernandez’s tally on nine, and no player has been involved in more goals when you take assists into account.
His creativity has been crucial, even as the team have struggled under Heckingbottom, and he is clearly a key piece of the puzzle as the club consider how to improve next season.
Hernandez may not be the man to build a team around long-term, but he does possess the kind of quality that cannot be lost, nor easily or cheaply replaced, with a rebuilding project looking inevitable this summer.
Who is Josh Dasilva? Birmingham plot move for Arsenal midfield starlet
With seven assists at youth level last season, Monk could be set to land a real talent.
According to BirminghamLive, a loophole in EFL regulations means thats Garry Monk can sign one more player in the summer window and a move is being lined-up for Dasilva despite the club’s ongoing transfer embargo.
The 19-year-old is a candidate to move to St. Andrews on-loan for the 2018-19 campaign – but who exactly is he?
What experience does he have at Arsenal?
Josh Dasilva joined Arsenal at the age of eight and is yet to make his Premier League debut with the Gunners. However, he featured three times under the guidance of Arsene Wenger last term in the Carabao Cup – appearing in victories over Norwich, Doncaster and West Ham.
The teenager was also an unused substitute in a Europa League tie with Red Star Belgrade and was a regular in the Gunners’ U23 ranks last term, featuring 17 times in Premier League 2. and boasting an impressive seven assists.
Where does he play?
Dasilva’s versatility is one of his best assets, as he rose through the ranks playing as a striker before being converted into a midfielder last season, while he also played in a number ten role and out wide for the Gunners.
In the Carabao Cup clash with Doncaster, Dasilva played as part of a back-three after his introduction off the bench but it is as a creative midfielder where the youngster’s future looks set to lie, shown by his impressive return of assists last term.
What is Thierry Henry’s impact?
Dasilva played for Arsenal’s U18 side at a time when the Gunners all-time top-scorer Thierry Henry worked with the youngsters as a coach and the player has stated the France World Cup winner played a key-role in his conversion from a striker to a midfielder.
“Andries Jonker spoke to me and explained that they had seen me play in midfield for the under- 16s and also the way I made chances for others when up front, he felt that I had potential as a midfielder.
“It was a position that I needed to get reacquainted with, and I’m thankful that Thierry Henry spent a lot of time working with me. He explained I had to concentrate on getting the basics right, like tackling, passing and positioning and then my natural style will come out.”
What can he give to Birmingham?
A highly technical player who loves to run with the ball at his feet, Dasilva’s maturity in the final third puts him beyond his peers as he is aware of when to make the killer pass, while his close control helps to provide him with space.
Top-scorer Sam Gallagher scored just six goals for Birmingham last season, which shows a lack of creativity in the final third, and Josh Dasilva can aid that – although this would be his first time away from Arsenal, so he would have to settle into the senior game quickly.
Garry Monk should move for Britt Assombalonga again amid recent reports
Birmingham City need a striker and Monk is a big fan of Assombalonga.
It appears Britt Assombalonga may be on his way out of Middlesbrough this summer, according to reports. HITC have claimed that the DR Congo striker was involved in an argument with boss Tony Pulis during a pre-season training camp and his future with the club is now in doubt.
An exit would come just over a year after he made the switch to The Riverside from Nottingham Forest.
Of course, he is a natural goalscorer in the Championship and most of the 24 teams at this level would like to have him on board. Perhaps none more so than Garry Monk at Birmingham City.
Birmingham boss Monk was being linked with a move for Assombalonga when Leeds United manager. Then, after leaving and taking up the post at Boro, he did make a move for the player.
He is clearly a huge fan of the player and Birmingham are in the hunt for a goalscorer this summer.
Currently, that appears to be Lewis Grabban, but Nottingham Forest are the frontrunners for his signature. So should Monk go for Assombalonga the second summer running?
Of course, a permanent deal would be out of the question right now. The 25-year-old, who scored 15 goals last season, cost a fee in the region of £15 million twelve months ago. They would want a similar amount in return, which Birmingham would not be able to afford.
But not many clubs will be willing to stump up that much this summer and if Pulis is not going to use him then getting his wages off the books would make sense. Birmingham could, therefore, be hopeful of a loan deal for the player.
It would be a bold transfer from Birmingham, who are hoping to move away from the relegation fight next season. It would no doubt be tough to put together, but Monk would love a chance to work with Assombalonga again and bring some attacking impetus to St Andrew’s.
Garry Monk should reunite with Rob Green at Birmingham City
Birmingham City are set to let David Stockdale leave the club.
Huddersfield Town have announced their retained list for the summer and veteran goalkeeper Rob Green will now be hunting for a new club. The Terriers have not renewed his one-year deal at the club and the 12-cap England international will now be hunting for a new club this summer.
Green joined Huddersfield on a free transfer after a shock release by West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United last summer, who decided to replace him with German goalie Felix Wiedwald. That proved to be a move which certainly backfired.
But he played second fiddle to Danish international goalie Jonas Lossl and is now on his way. He did not feature in a single game for the club, spending the entire season as a substitute at the John Smith’s Stadium.
So where does he go next?
One potential option would be a return to working with Garry Monk, currently the manager at Birmingham City.
Green was the number one for Monk at Leeds in 2016-17. Had the manager remained at Elland Road, it is highly likely that Green would have done the same and played out this season as the Whites number one again.
But with Monk gone Green needed to find somewhere else to play his football and now the pair have a chance to reunite again.
It also appears that Birmingham are going to be in need of a new goalkeeper. The Yorkshire Evening Post suggest this weekend that Monk wants to move on David Stockdale, with his hometown club and Monk’s former club Leeds keen.
If Stockdale is exiting, Birmingham need a safe pair of hands between the net. Despite his advancing years, Green proved at Leeds he still has plenty to give at the Championship level and with Monk needing a new ‘keeper he can rely on the 38-year-old would be a no-brainer for Birmingham City.
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