He may have played ‘We Will Rock You’ at the closing ceremony at London 2012 but if Brian May were to play for the Spanish La Liga, his song of choice may very well be ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ as the Spanish exodus appears to continue. This time it is the turn of Valencia player Pablo Hernández who is leaving for Swansea.
With Santi Cazorla, Michu and Borja Valero already joining Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, David Silva and Pepe Reina, and very soon possibly Fernando Llorente and Javi Martínez, to play their football abroad this is not a happy chapter in La Liga’s history. Whilst the country is still smiling from the Euro 2012 victory, players are seeking moves abroad. At the moment the Premier League seems to be one of the preferred destinations and so it came as no shock that possible suitors for Pablo Hernández would come from the English League.
Pablo has enjoyed the highs and lows of football. Born and raised in Castellón he came up through the ranks of his local club, Valencia. He made his way up through the B team playing as a right-winger or as the second striker. Finding first team football hard to come by he was loaned out to 2nd division outfit Cádiz and while he put in some good performances it wasn’t enough for Valencia who would use him as part of a deal to sign Getafe’s central defender Alexis. At Getafe, whose Coach at the time was no other that Michael Laudrup, he shined and his displays prompted Valencia to re-sign him.
Whilst Villa, Silva and Mata were grabbing all the headlines, Pablo kept his head down and kept working away.
Luis Aragonés was also impressed with the winger and he was called up to the preliminary squad for Euro 2008 although he would not make the final squad. He would get another chance under new Coach Vicente Del Bosque though and was part of the FIFA Confederations Cup squad in 2009 and made his debut in South Africa. He would score his first goal for Spain in November 2009 against Austria in a friendly but since then he has fallen out of favour and has not added to his five caps.
At club level, Valencia had just hired new Coach Unai Emery in 2008. The season before Valencia had won the Copa Del Rey with Ronald Koeman but the club had been involved in a relegation battle and continuous in fighting. Koeman was sacked after winning the Cup but the club were just a few points over the drop zone. They survived and highly rated Emery was signed. At first he had to heal the deep wounds that were opened under Koeman’s reign but the side still included players such as David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata. Another important cog was Pablo Hernández.
Consistency was a major issue for Emery in his first season but also the constant stories about the club’s debt was an unwelcome distraction. Stories surrounding the failure to pay players were becoming repetitive but in the 2009-10 season Valencia’s players were determined to do their talking on the pitch. Pablo was a major part of the side that sealed 3rd place. Whilst Villa, Silva and Mata were grabbing all the headlines, Pablo kept his head down and kept working away.
He has great respect for Laudrup and enjoyed working with him at Getafe.
In the 2010-11 season he was given extra responsibility with Villa and Silva leaving the club so the club could keep the creditors at bay. He struggled with form and injury but he still managed to score five goals and six assists and Valencia retained 3rd place. Rumours of a move to England and other teams in Spain appeared in the transfer gossip pages but no offer was made. Juan Mata left to join Chelsea but Valencia made some very shrewd signings, signings that would limit the right-wingers appearances. Some started to question had maybe Villa, Silva and Mata made Pablo look better than he really was. Others defended the player by saying that he was a victim of the constant rotating and changing of personnel.
This summer Valencia have sold Jordi Alba to Barcelona and so have no need to sell Pablo but the 27 year old had a poor season last year and even though he scored three goals, a change of scenery is something that interests him. He has great respect for Laudrup and enjoyed working with him at Getafe. Valencia have met the players agent and have told the player that he is part of Coach Mauricio Pellegrino plans but Pablo is eager not to endure another season of bit part appearances. Valencia won’t sell him on the cheap though and should he go he would link up with fellow Spaniards in Wales Michu, Ángel Rangel, Andrea Orlandi and José Manuel Flores. One thing that Swans fans can be happy about is that Laudrup is aiming to continue with the great football we were treated to under Rodgers last season.
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