Video: Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez eager to strike new deal at Elland Road
PABLO HERNANDEZ is keen to commit himself to a new contract and avoid a summer exit from Elland Road after revealing that Leeds United are yet to offer him an extension to his deal.
The Spanish midfielder is out of contract at the end of this season, his second year with United, but the club have so far made no formal move to open discussions about his future.
Hernandez, who joined the club while former Swansea City team-mate Garry Monk was head coach in 2016, turns 33 in April and could become a free agent in less than three months’ time with the Championship season 14 games away from its conclusion.
Leeds have retained him on short-term agreements ever since his move from Al-Arabi in Qatar, signing Hernandez on loan initially before negotiating a deal to the end of last season.
That contract included an appearance-related clause which Hernandez duly activated to earn a further 12-month stay at Elland Road.
The ex-Villareal playmaker has been a steady source of creativity throughout his time with Leeds and came up with the crosses which yielded both goals in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Bristol City, a match for which boss Paul Heckingbottom named him as captain. His tally of six assists is the highest in United’s squad.
The appearance against Bristol City was Hernandez 70th competitive outing for Leeds and despite the absence of any contract talks, he wants to remain in Yorkshire for a third campaign.
“I don’t know,” Hernandez said when asked if he expected to earn an extension. “I don’t receive anything new from the club. I can’t tell you anything about this.
“I prefer only to focus on the next games and give 100 per cent for the club. I can’t talk about this.”
The midfielder left no doubt that he hoped to receive another contract, saying: “Yes, obviously. I’m very happy here. I feel the fans and my team-mates, all the people, would like it if I stay here but it depends not only on me.”
The majority of United’s players are tied to substantial terms following a concerted drive by owner Andrea Radrizzani to hand out long-term contracts in the past nine months. Hernandez is the only senior player on a permanent deal which expires this summer.
Heckingbottom handed Hernandez, the oldest outfield player on the books, the armband for his first home match as head coach on Sunday with club captain Liam Cooper serving the final game of a four-match ban.
Hernandez said: “It’s a responsibility and for me an honour to be captain. If the gaffer decides that I’m captain I don’t have a problem.”