Leeds United have signed 18-year-old Mateo Joseph Fernandez on a three-and-a-half-year deal following Espanyol accepting an undisclosed fee.
Reports suggested that Leeds chose to sign the young striker now, rather than on a free in the summer, due to attention from the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona.
Leeds United Sign Mateo Joseph Fernandez
✍️ Leeds United are pleased to announce the signing of Mateo Joseph Fernandez from La Liga side, RCD Espanyol
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 4, 2022
Fernandez, a Spaniard with English parents, drew particular interest from clubs because of his promising talent. In three seasons of youth football for Espanyol, Fernandez scored 44 goals in 56 appearances. Last season for the Under-19s, he scored 14 goals in 21 matches. His impressive record propelled him to feature for Espanyol’s ‘B’ team.
Leeds’ new signing will join up with their youth side rather than straight into the first-team squad. This raises the possibility of Marcelo Bielsa searching for a senior striker to bolster his attack in the second half of the campaign.
Nevertheless, Fernandez’s signature is the latest of a series of young players moving to Elland Road. Joel Gelhardt, Cody Drameh, Crysencio Summerville and Sam Greenwood are on the list of recent signings who have joined Leeds since their academy elevated to Category A in the summer of 2020.
Leeds’ concrete policy is an example of Bielsa’s trust and commitment to developing young talents, as well as the club’s vision for the future. The ownership and board members want Leeds to be heavyweights of Europe again and attracting potential young stars is a significant attribute to such a goal.