Michael Laudrup’s restructuring of the Swansea first-team squad continued with the capture of Pablo Hernandez from Valencia. The 27-year-old joins on a three-year-contract for a club record fee of £5.5m and reunites with Laudrup, having previously played under the Dane at Getafe.
With Scott Sinclair leaving for Man City, Laudrup has bolstered the Swans’ options on the flanks with yet another canny piece of business. Speaking to the club’s official website upon completion of the move, the new Swansea boss was clearly delighted with his new acquisition:
He has played a lot of games in the Champions League games in the last three seasons and made his debut in the national team. I am looking forward to working with him again; he is a good player with the right mentality. He specifically wanted to come here. The other players who have come here have come from smaller clubs, and here is a player from the third biggest club in Spain and he wants to come here. It is great for us.
A product of the Valencia youth academy, Hernandez played a single game in the 2005-06 campaign before being loaned out to second division Cadiz for the following season. Producing four goals from 22 appearances, he caught the eye of Laudrup and was snapped up for Getafe in 2007. A single season for the Dane saw Hernandez feature 28 times in La Liga, returning three goals and three assists, before Valencia splashed the cash to bring him back to the Mestalla on a six-year contract.
Starring alongside the likes of David Silva and Juan Mata, Hernandez proved to be a pivotal figure upon his return. Over four full seasons, the winger’s creativity was as crucial as his eye for goal – a total of 111 league appearances saw him find the net on 16 occasions, with 19 assists also accrued. Hernandez has also featured for his country four times, finding the net once.
Laudrup has been rightly lauded for his impact on Swansea’s style of play so far. Keeping with Brendan Rodgers’ 4-3-3 formation, his decision to tweak the roles of the wide men has had an instant impact, with Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge both profiting hugely. The pair have produced attacking returns in every one of their three matches under the new man in charge, with three goals and five assists between them.
Hernandez’s arrival, however, places major question marks over the Swansea flanks. As a club record signing, the chances of him swapping La Liga for a place on the Liberty bench seem non-existent, meaning one of the two wide boys will almost certainly make way. Able to play on either wing, he looks favourite to oust Routledge on the left, allowing Dyer to continue his menacing form on the opposite side of the pitch. Indeed, the acquisition of Ki Sung-Yeung also affords Laudrup further options – Jonathan De Guzman has been fielded in a central role but is versatile enough to be moved to the flank, should Laudrup choose to partner the combative Korean with Leon Britton in the centre of the park.
Looking at the upcoming schedule, there is plenty evidence to suggest the new boy could offer an instant impact. With three home games (EVE, RDG, WIG) and a trip to struggling Villa in the next five Gameweeks, Laudrup’s side continue to attract significant investment after racking up eight goals in their first three fixtures. Hernandez is currently available for £6.3m.