By Alex Stevens
Pablo Hernandez has revealed that Leeds assistant manager Pep Clotet convinced him to sign for the club.
The 31-year-old completed a six-month loan move from Qatari side Al-Arabi at the start of the week that has the option to be converted into a permanent transfer in January.
Hernandez’s transfer has been widely hailed as a coup given that he has three full Spain caps and was Swansea’s then club-record signing of £5.5million in 2012.
But it was Clotet rather than manager Garry Monk or someone else in the Leeds hierarchy who was the key driver of the deal.
The call to him from Leeds was made by Monk’s Spanish assistant, who also coached Hernandez at Swansea.
“When Pep called me about his opportunity I said ‘yes I want to go’,” Hernandez revealed, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Al-Arabi signed Hernandez from Swansea – a club where he played alongside former defender Monk from 2012 to 2014 – but the Spaniard spent most of last season in La Liga on loan at Rayo Vallecano.
Hernandez has spent most of his career playing as a winger but Monk views him as a natural No10 and he will be handed the playmaker role at Elland Road.
“In Qatar I played more in the number 10 position,” Hernandez told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I’m ready to play number 10 or as a winger or wherever the boss tells me but number 10 is more like where I’ve played in the last few years.
“I think in that position you need to keep calm and keep the ball. If you score many goals then it’s good for the team but more important is to keep the ball – to play fast and play forwards, not backwards, and to play for the team.”
Hernandez became the seventh summer signing of Monk, who has landed Rob Green, Hadi Sacko, Marcus Antonsson, Kyle Bartley, Kemar Roofe and Matt Grimes.
Leeds ended their pre-season preparations with a win over Serie A side Atalanta and will now gear all their focus towards their opening Championship encounter with QPR on Sunday.