MIDFIELDER Pablo Hernandez marked signing a new permanent deal with Leeds United by stating: “I always wanted to stay for longer.”
After a successful spell at Elland Road, the Spaniard has made his switch from Qatari club Al-Arabi permanent after signing a contract until the end of the season with the option of a year’s extension.
United recruited Hernandez on loan in August with a view to a permanent move this month and he reached the end of his temporary stay with an outing in last week’s 3-0 victory over Rotherham United.
An agreement to convert his loan to a full-time switch was put in place when the 31-year-old first came to England.
Despite suffering a hamstring strain in November, Hernandez has made 15 league appearances and scored three goals, providing a creative edge in Garry Monk’s side.
“I am very happy to sign a permanent deal with Leeds United,” said Hernandez on Monday.
“I knew I initially came here on loan for six months, but in my mind I always wanted to stay here for longer.
“Leeds gave me the chance to return to English football and I am very happy because I really enjoy the football here in England.”
Hernandez said he had quickly learned first-hand how big a club Leeds was within English football, immediately impressed by what he feels is a passionate support.
“When I first came here a lot of people told me Leeds United are a big club, but I already knew this from my time at Valencia, when the two sides met in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, he added.
“Leeds has unbelievable fans, an unbelievable stadium, a really good training ground and very professional staff and I really like all of this.
“The fans believe in this team and that is important for the confidence of the team, but we need to stay calm as it is still early in the season.”