2nd August 2016. Leeds United announced the acquisition of Pablo Hernandez when he was aging at thirty-one. After an underwhelming first season at Elland Road, with six goals, the Spaniard planted his feet in the Leeds’ midfield and no player has had a bigger impact than him in time away from the Premier League.
And in some ways, Hernandez’s age worked in Leeds favour as it was serene to keep hold of him when he provided 12 goals and 12 assists in Marcelo Bielsa’s first season at Elland Road.
One is a similar story of Rodrigo Moreno, atleast the inception;
Rodrigo Moreno seems tailor-built for the brand of football that Marcelo Bielsa likes to imprint on his players and even though Rodrigo may have had a few inconsistent seasons coming into Leeds, I’m optimistic that with the right setup and manager he can do wonders.
I realize the fact that he is not someone who regularly scores 20-25 goals per season, but he is more than just the sum of his stats. He is quick, works hard of the ball, and most importantly provides excellent linkup play which is an essential part of this Leeds setup. He covers a lot of ground and puts in the yards week in and week out. The only problem with such players at times is that they don’t always have the best stats to back them up, which is why the footballing world never really appreciates their talent.
Many argued Leeds overpaid for Rodrigo back when they brought him from Valencia on a club-record fee, and his performances for the better part of the season suggested that with just three goals heading into that fixture against Tottenham. But he has been a revelation since, scoring three in less than forty-five minutes of football across the wins against Spurs and Burnley. Further, all of the goals were well taken and showed exactly why Leeds broke the transfer record for him.
Here is where his time at Elland Road eclipses Pablo’s. Rodrigo joined Leeds slightly younger than when Hernandez did, though both possessed much quality and started coming into their own once settled. And based on the last couple of outings, Rodrigo is showing he has the quality and mettle to bounce back from his tough year and become a mainstay for Bielsa’s men well into the twilight of his career – just as Hernandez did.