It’s not one a situation that Leeds will be looking forward to, but with Pablo Hernandez turning 35 earlier this year, a plan surely has to be start being drawn up for life after the Spanish wizard has left or retired.
Despite being one of the oldest players in the squad, the midfielder has arguably been the Whites’ most effective players in recent weeks.
With Marcelo Bielsa’s side chasing down automatic promotion from the Championship this season, Hernandez has come up big with some really important cameos – not least his late winner against Swansea on Sunday.
Despite coming on at the break, he finished with a Sofascore match rating of 7.3 – the second-highest of any Leeds player on the day. He completed three out of his four attempted dribbles, provided one key pass and recorded 52 touches of the ball, ten more than Jack Harrison who lasted almost the whole game.
It’s quite telling that since the restart, the Spaniard has only played a maximum of 45 minutes in any game, with Bielsa no doubt keen to preserve his fitness in these final few matches of the campaign.
But whilst it is working out to a tee for now, Hernandez’s age means Victor Orta and co must surely be on the hunt for a potential successor to their little magician.
Hernandez – valued at £1.08m by Transfermarkt – may only have another season or two at the top level, and it is already difficult to see whether he would be more than just an impact sub in that time.
But rather than just waiting to see when his time comes to an end, Leeds must be proactive in their work in the transfer market and find a player who can come in and provide some of the same qualities the Spaniard offers.
With eight goals and seven assists this season, Hernandez has shown he is still very much a goal threat, and bringing someone in who can provide both creativity and goal threat would go a long way to making sure Leeds can continue to be successful even without the former pulling the strings.