The Athletic journalist Phil Hay has claimed that Castellon wanted to sign Pablo Hernandez in this transfer window, but that a move “won’t happen”.
Now, Hay has revealed that Castellon, who had Hernandez on their books as a youth player, were “hoping to tempt” him back to Spain in this transfer window, but that Leeds are “not willing to lose him”.
Hearing from Spain that Castellon were hoping to tempt Pablo Hernandez back there this month but it won’t happen. Leeds not willing to lose him. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) January 31, 2021
Despite Hernandez’s lack of game-time, the Spaniard’s veteran presence must be a major influence in the dressing room, particularly for a Leeds side in their first campaign back in the Premier League.
Speaking earlier this season, former Scotland boss, Alex McLeish, said: “He will be like a talisman to Leeds and also, in terms of his experience, a lot of younger players in the team will look up to him. He’s also got that strength in his armoury not just on the field but he will be important to a lot of the kids in that dressing room.”
Losing a player of Hernandez’s considerable experience – he’s played 168 games for Leeds alone – would be a major blow not in terms of the Whites missing a star player on the pitch, but the kind of calmness and leadership he brings to the table off it.
It’s exactly why Bielsa will surely be relieved that Hernandez appears to be staying put for the second half of this campaign, and potentially even longer.
They’ll need to draw on all the resources they have at their disposal, and the Spaniard’s ability to be a cameo performer, and also be a leader in the dressing room, are things that Leeds will be delighted to keep for the time being.