One of the big issues behind the scenes at Leeds United currently is what the club should do with their Spanish veteran Pablo Hernandez. The 33-year-old is out of contract at Elland Road this summer. He is the only first-teamer whose contract expires in the summer and Leeds United fans are nearly universal in their desire to see him handed a new contract.
Whilst Hernandez may be the oldest player in the Leeds squad he is also, quite simply, the most naturally gifted. Despite his advancing years there is an argument to suggest that Hernandez has still been Leeds’ best player this season and is fully deserving of a new contract.
In fact, Leeds should go further than that.
Not only should a new deal be handed to Hernandez, but the Spanish veteran should also be handed the club captaincy at Elland Road.
At the moment Liam Cooper holds the role and to say he is unpopular with the Leeds fanbase would be something of an understatement. His performances this season have not been those of a captain and fans at Leeds are sick of his below-par displays.
Hernandez always leads by an example, which is the first factor a captain needs to possess. Whilst not your traditional leader, such as a Cooper or Pontus Jansson type, Hernandez is a quieter more reserved champion of his team-mates.
Then there is his experience. What other Leeds player can say they have played in the Champions League, or in one of the greatest national teams in recent memory. Hernandez featured for Valencia in the elite club competition and has four caps and one goal for Vicente Del Bosque’s famous Spain side.
He has the respect of his fans, the respect of his team-mates and the attributes necessary to be a successful captain for Leeds United. Whites boss Paul Heckingbottom has recently admitted that talks have begun with Hernandez over a new deal and a one-year extension is surely set to be offered. The armband should come alongside it.
Leeds United round-up: De Bock interest, O’Kane to Charlton and managerial shortlist
A selection of the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.
De Bock option
Laurens De Bock has an option to head out of Leeds United before the end of the month. The Belgian has struggled to have an impact at Leeds since arriving in January.
The left-back has now dropped down the pecking order at Leeds, with youngster Tom Pearce and summer signing Barry Douglas overtaking him.
According to Voetbal24, he could be heading to Israel. Beitar Jerusalem are said to be keen on the player, where his former manager Guy Luzon is currently working.
Leeds United midfielder Eunan O’Kane could still be heading to Charlton Athletic. The Irish international has been frozen out at Leeds and is expected to leave Elland Road before the end of the month.
League One Charlton, managed by former Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer, have been linked with a move earlier this month.
Now, as reported by the Yorkshire Post, the Addicks will continue looking for his signature over the next week or so.
Leeds’ managerial shortlist before the start of the season had a number of top names present. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani confirmed that the likes of Antonio Conte, Claudio Ranieri and Roberto Martinez were all considered for the manager role at Elland Road.
Leeds eventually appointed Marcelo Bielsa and his impact has been dramatic and immediate in West Yorkshire.
Leeds United should consider sending Yosuke Ideguchi to KAS Eupen
The Japan international looks unlikely to play a major role at Leeds this season.
Leeds United’s excellent start to the season has been largely down to the management of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine has worked wonders with his new players. He even brought in the likes of Mateusz Klich from the cold, with aplomb.
However, another player who spent the second half of last season loaned out elsewhere was Yosuke Ideguchi. So far, the Japanese international has not received a chance under Bielsa.
It looks as though he might be sent out on loan before the end of the month, but interest from these shores looks scarce.
Last season he spent time with Leeds partner club Cultural Leonesa. The two teams have a strong link through director Ivan Bravo and the Aspire Foundation.
But Cultural was a waste of time for Ideguchi. He barely played and they were relegated to the third-tier. The Spanish side are not, however, the only Aspire team in Europe.
KAS Eupen of Belgium’s top-flight also have a connection with Bravo and Aspire. If Leeds want to help Ideguchi get better, perhaps sending him here is a better shout.
Not only would he playing a similar style of football to that in England, but he would be doing so under one of the best central midfielders to play the game in England.
Claude Makelele is the manager at the club. The former Chelsea star would undoubtedly have a lot of knowledge to pass down to a young midfielder.
He would also have the added advantage of a Japanese team-mate. Yuta Toyokawa joined the club in January, amid controversy surrounding an apparent move to Leeds. He is a similar age to the Leeds misfit. Having him around could help the pair settle in their new surroundings.
If Leeds cannot find someone in the UK to take on Ideguchi, then sending him to Eupen looks like being the next best thing.
Marco Bielsa is already setting records at Leeds United, with last season’s team
The turn around at Elland Road in the opening weeks of the season has been remarkable.
Four games into his Leeds United tenure and Marco Bielsa is already setting records with his new team.
After a 2-1 victory over Rotherham on Saturday, the Argentine head coach becomes the first boss at Elland Road to win the club’s first four games at the start of a domestic season, in all competitions.
The standards being set by the 63-year-old since his arrival have been somewhat remarkable with the playing style he has quickly been able to implement proving mesmerising, even to those who are typically opposed to the club.
But, perhaps the most impressive quality about the performances Championship fans are witnessing, is the fact Bielsa has set this record with practically the same team that took to the field, and could only achieve a 13th place finish, last season.
At Elland Road this weekend, the starting XI only contained one summer signing, which just goes to demonstrate the impressive work Bielsa has carried out with the players over the summer period.
Already being referred to as a ‘ready-made Premier League side’, after years of heart break at Elland Road, there will now be a genuine believe that the Whites can return to the English top flight come the end of the season.
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