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More dreadful spiel from Leeds United as stalwart Pablo Hernandez signs new contract
Thursday, 26th Apr 2018 09:54 by @LucasMonk_

The erstwhile Spain international has today signed a new contract at Elland Road - and to say that it's been feted by Leeds United would be a gross understatement.

Leeds United have retained the services of creative conjurer Pablo Hernandez, with the midfielder penning a new contract running until the summer of 2020.

Hernandez, 33, had been the subject of intense speculation suggesting that he may leave Elland Road for Birmingham City, and a reunion with former United head coach Garry Monk.

But the Spaniard, who earned four caps and scored once for his country between 2009 and 2010, has emphatically rebuffed the apparent overtures of the Blues by penning a new two-year contract, handing United an appreciable boost after a difficult week.

Leeds have attracted widespread scorn from MPs, Amnesty International and many of their own supporters since they announced a preposterous post-season sojourn to Myanmar on Tuesday, and the securing of Hernandez's services will likely go some way in detracting from the fact that the club could be seen to be legitimising Myanmar's state-sponsored persecution o fnearly a million Rohingya refugees.

Indeed, the club have made a clear attempt to milk this announcement for all its worth by releasing a statement chock-full of spiel of which Alastair Campbell would be proud (if it did not include the unforgivable comma splice, that is).

"The 33-year-old is one of the oldest members of United’s squad, but brings a wealth of experience and leadership qualities to what is a relatively young Leeds side," the statement declared.

"He has also captained the Whites on numerous occasions throughout the campaign and led by example on and off the pitch.

"His deal was due to expire this summer, but the club have moved to secure his services for the foreseeable future and are delighted Pablo has agreed to see out his career at Elland Road."

Hernandez initially joined United on loan from Qatar's obscenely opulent Al-Arabi in the summer of 2016, before signing a permanent contract at Elland Road in January last year.

The cultured playmaker arrived at Leeds with considerable pedigree, having represented Valencia and Swansea in European competition in addition to lifting the League Cup with the latter in 2013. To date, he has made 80 appearances for United in all competitions, scoring 15 goals and creating 18 for his teammates.

Leeds' spiel-saturated statement was on the money in at least one regard. Hernandez has unquestionably been the club's star performer in an abject season, scoring seven goals and creating nine in 40 Championship appearances.

But one must question the decision to hand a 33-year-old a two-year contract.

Admittedly, Hernandez is a 33-year-old who can produce, from nothing, a match-winning flash of panache, but will that be the case in six, seven, or eight months' time?

Time, of course, will tell - but the move smacks of desperation on the part of a board that has, thus far, let the supporters down and is being subjected to pressure that intensifies with each blunder that is made.

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