Leeds United complete first signing of January transfer window by landing highly-rated young centre forward

Leeds United have completed their first signing of the January transfer window by recruiting teenage centre forward Mateo Joseph Fernandez from Espanyol.

By Lee Sobot
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 7:19 pm

Whites director of football Victor Orta had been chasing the 18-year-old striker for several months but the teen was reportedly also attracting interest from Barcelona, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Leeds, though, have been able to land the young attacker for an undisclosed fee, the teen signing for the Whites on a three-and-a-half year contract that expires in June 2025.

Reports in Spain suggested Fernandez had a release clause of £1.3m although the forward was expected to move for less due to his contract being up in the summer.

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DEAL: Eighteen-year-old centre forward Mateo Joseph Fernandez has joined the Whites from Espanyol on a three-and-a-half year deal. Picture by LUFC.

Leeds acted quickly to secure his arrival in West Yorkshire before he became a free agent.

Fernandez will now join up with Mark Jackson’s Under-23s side having already impressed in Espanyol’s Academy set up.

The striker netted 44 goals in 56 games across three seasons from under-16 to under-19 level whilst also having featured for Espanyol’s B team.

Last season the teen bagged 14 goals in 21 matches for Espanyol’s Under-19s.

The striker was born in Spain to British parents meaning he is eligible to represent England despite holding Spanish citizenship.

Leeds hope the teen will be the first of a few arrivals over the course of the January transfer window.

On the outgoings front, Whites striker Ryan Edmondson has joined Port Vale on loan until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old had spent the first half of the campaign at League One side Fleetwood Town but failed to make an impact in Lancashire.

He has now joined up with play-offs chasing Vale in League Two until the summer where he will hope to find more regular game time. Edmondson penned a new three-year deal at Elland Road in 2020, which leaves him with 18 months left to run on his contract at Leeds.

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