COMMENT By Richard Parks
Signing up Pablo Hernandez to a new deal was a bit of a no-brainer for Leeds United.
But it was not as simple as by might have appeared from a distance, even though the player had revealed he wanted to stay beyond his initial two-year spell.
Leeds had to fight off competition before tying Hernandez down to a contract extension that keeps him at the club for two more years until the summer of 2020, a deal that was announced on their official website on Thursday morning.
The Spanish maestro will be 35 by that point, an age at which most top footballers are either well into their coaching badges or putting their feet up wondering about their second careers.
Yet Hernandez has proved this season that the passing of time has not dulled a talent that is the equal of virtually any player in the Championship, never mind just at Elland Road.
His haul of nine goals and 10 assists from 42 appearances this season betters his debut campaign and is expected to end with him winning Leeds’ player of the year award.
United will not do any better business that the new Hernandez contract this year. Indeed, it could prove to be the best deal by any Championship club.
As the Yorkshire Evening Post report, there were other offers tabled to the 5ft 8in playmaker from Spanish clubs offering the opportunity of a return to his homeland for the first time in six years.
Leeds have won the race, just in the nick of time. They should be saluted for that following what has been a particularly testing week at the club.