Aug 31, 2012, 5:40 PM EDT
Swansea City moved quickly to replace the departed Scott Sinclair, with Michael Laudrup going back to Spain to lure winger Pablo Hernandez from Valencia to Wales.
Who is he: A Valencia youth product with local roots, Hernandez has spent almost his entire career at the Mestalla, debuting with Los Che in 2006. After a brief move to Getafe in 2007-08 (where he scored four goals in the UEFA Cup), Hernandez was bought-back by Valencia. Over the last four seasons with the club, Hernandez has averaged 27 appearances, four goals,and four assists.
What does he do: As a winger, Hernandez is a perfect fit for what Michael Laudrup’s doing at Swansea, especially considering (thanks to Michu) he won’t be expected to make up for the goals Sinclair took with him to Manchester City. Hernandez is a completely different kind of player, less likely to get on a final ball than be part of creating one. He may not be as fast as some of his new teammates (Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge), but his combination of speed, skill, and tactical sense makes him the type of player who’d have a role on even the most talented teams. Pablo’s understated emergence is a big reason why Valencia has been able to persist near the top of La Liga.
What did he cost: A modest fee if £5.5 million ($8.7 million), though that is a Swansea City record.
How does he fit: Very well, and not only because Laudrup’s familiar with him. There’s a natural spot for him in Swansea’s system, and he provides a nice (and, needed) alternative to Dyer and Routledge. His awareness means he fits nicely with Laurdrup’s style, and if Swansea is counting on Michu continuing to be one of their main goalscorers, Hernández is a great complementing part.
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