Hernandez set to make Leeds United move permanent

Pablo Hernandez.

Pablo Hernandez.

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Leeds United are poised to complete the permanent signing of Pablo Hernandez on a deal to the end of the season.

The Elland Road club are in the process of tying up Hernandez’s full-time transfer from Qatari side Al-Arabi, a deal which will give Leeds the option of extending his contract for a further 12 months in the summer.

Hernandez reached the end of a six-month loan from Qatar after Monday’s 3-0 win over Rotherham United but he is continuing to train at Thorp Arch with Leeds and Al-Arabi already in agreement over a permanent move.

The 31-year-old joined Garry Monk’s squad at the start of August, reuniting himself with a coach who he worked under and played alongside at Swansea City.

United negotiated the terms of a full-time switch when his loan from Al-Arabi was first agreed and the transfer is likely to be sealed early next week.

Hernandez, who spent the whole of last season on loan at Spanish club Rayo Vallecano, joined Al-Arabi from Swansea in the summer of 2014 but made only a handful of appearances in Qatar before taking up temporary offers elsewhere.

The former Valencia player took time to re-acclimatise to the English leagues following his move to United but his improving form at number 10 coincided with a dramatic upturn in Leeds’ results after a poor start to the Championship term.

Monk lost him to a hamstring injury in November but Hernandez returned on Boxing Day, scoring in a 4-1 win at Preston North End. He has three goals and three assists to his name.

Sealing Hernandez’s permanent transfer was an immediate priority for Leeds this month with all of their other loanees tied to the club until May.

United will have the option to sign on-loan Torino centre-back Pontus Jansson for £3.5m once the defender makes his 22nd appearance of the season, potentially as soon as next Friday’s league game against Derby County.

Jansson’s agent, Martin Dahlin, told the Yorkshire Evening Post on Tuesday that the terms of a contract had already been finalised.

The Whites’ hopes of signing striker Ashley Fletcher, meanwhile, could be aided by West Ham United’s determined attempts to land Jermain Defoe from Sunderland. Defoe is a major January target of West Ham’s, though the relegation-threatened Black Cats are currently managing to hold out against offers for their top scorer.

Fletcher, who Leeds tried to sign from Manchester United in June, has been a fringe player for West Ham so far this season and the London-based club are expected to allow him to move elsewhere if they secure additional forwards. Attacking options are a priority for Monk and the United boss was linked with Stuttgart midfielder Alexandru Maxim earlier this week.

The YEP understands that Monk looked at the Romanian during the summer window but is yet to renew his interest in him.

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