Leeds United have beaten off interest from Liverpool and Manchester City for the signing of Espanyol striker Mateo Joseph Fernandez.
According to the Daily Mail, Leeds United have won the race to land talented Espanyol striker Mateo Joseph Fernandez.
The 18-year-old is one of the best young talents to come out of the Spanish side’s academy in recent years. While he is yet to make his senior debut, Fernandez has wowed onlookers with his showings for Espanyol’s youth sides.
He has caught the attention of European giants Liverpool, Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester City, who were keen on securing the teenager’s services. It is, however, Leeds who have won the race to land the player. He is now all set to join the Yorkshire giants when the transfer window opens on January 1st.
Fernandez had a release clause of £1.3 million. However, with his contract running out in the summer, Leeds initially offered around £420,000. They were forced to up their bid before it was eventually accepted.
The youngster has a prolific record for Espanyol’s youth sides. He scored 44 goals in 56 games as he rose from the Under-16 level to the club’s reserve side. Leeds have done well to grab the player for themselves, and it is nothing short of a steal given the other clubs in the fray.
Despite being born in Spain and spending his career in the country, Fernandez also qualifies for England thanks to his heritage. In recent years, several young English talents such as Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham have travelled abroad to hone their abilities. Whether Fernandez can experience the same level of success going the other way remains to be seen.
In Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds have a proven coach who has a reputation for getting the best out of his players. Fernandez will be under the right care at Elland Road to fulfil his potential. While a move to Liverpool or Manchester City could have had its benefits, the chances of him breaking into the senior side appear likelier at Elland Road at this moment in time.
The Whites have struggled to score goals this season. The likes of Rodrigo and Daniel James have misfired, and Patrick Bamford has had to work with injuries.
Already a slick finisher with an eye for goal, Fernandez has the making of a special player who can lead the line for Leeds in the years to come. At 18, he is at the right age to begin a new chapter and develop his game further. Much will be expected of the teenager, given his performances at the youth level. Whether he lives up to it and goes on to become a bonafide star at Elland Road remains to be seen.