Marcelo Bielsa delivers honest verdict on new Leeds signing Mateo Fernandez
Marcelo Bielsa has delivered a verdict on new Leeds signing Mateo Joseph Fernandez in his latest press conference. The Whites announced the arrival of the teenage striker from Espanyol, just this week.
Fernandez, 18, has joined the Whites on a three-and-a-half-year deal until the summer of 2025 after sparkling for Espanyol’s Under-19 side. The striker is believed to have cost the best part of £1million.
He scored 14 goals in 21 games for Espanyol’s 19’s last season. The striker has British heritage, with his parents sharing British and Spanish nationality. He will be teaming up with the club’s Under-23 side.
Of course, the arrival is likely to be a replacement for Joe Gelhardt – who has sparkled at 23’s level under Mark Jackson. That form has seen him go into the senior side, and Bielsa had his say on the latest Leeds recruit.
“He’s a young player. He will incorporate himself into the 23’s. He will go through the stages of showing the qualities as the reason to why he arrived here. Competing with players in his position of the same age.
“Like Dean, Greenwood, Gelhardt, Miller. Like every young player who arrives he comes here after a profound analysis. We hope his integration will be quick. He overcomes the level of the players in his same position.”
Bielsa on Fernandez: When can we see Leeds star break into senior side?
What might have attracted Fernandez to Leeds is that the path into the senior side, especially in the final third, is not extensive. Patrick Bamford, of course, remains first choice – while Tyler Roberts and Gelhardt are cover.
Roberts, of course, can play as a 10 – as can Rodrigo. But other than that – and especially given Bamford, Rodrigo and Roberts are no stranger to injury – Fernandez has a real chance of pushing into the senior side.
But first, he must prove he is capable by scoring goals with the 23’s. Max Dean will have something to say about Fernandez starting under Jackson – next in action against West Ham’s reserves on Monday.