. . . Hernandez makes Swans switch from Valencia
Swansea City have completed the signing of Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez for a club record fee of £5.55m.
Hernandez, 27, signed a three-year contract at the Liberty late this afternoon after passing his medical and finalising personal terms. The move was made ahead of tonight’s transfer deadline.
“I’m very happy to become a Swansea City player,’’ explained Hernandez. “It was my target as soon as I knew there was interest. There were offers from other clubs, but this was the only club I wanted to join.
“I want to thank the club and Michael Laudrup for making me feel like a very important player. Now I want to repay that faith on the football field.
“Swansea is a very important football club and will only keep getting better. They were a good side last year and look even better so far this season. I watched the game against West Ham on TV last week and they played some good football. I also liked the atmosphere; the fans are good and together with Michael Laudrup’s presence it’s an exciting package.’’
But Hernandez admitted that it was the Laudrup factor that was key to the switch from Spain to Wales.
“Michael was my idol when I was young,’’ he added. “Then I was lucky enough to play under him at Getafe.
“I was a young player at Getafe and I learnt a lot from him. He gave me confidence and I have a lot to thank him for. Now I want to help him at Swansea in return, because he was very important for my career.’’
The record transfer fee surpassed that paid last week for Ki Sung-Yueng from Celtic by just £50,000.
Hernandez, who will not figure against Sunderland tomorrow at the Liberty Stadium, is a product of the Youth system at Valencia and made his senior debut in the final match of the 2006-07 season.
He spent the following campaign on loan at second-tier club Cadiz, scoring four league goals in 22 league appearances.
He then transferred to Getafe as part of the deal that took defender Alexis to the Mestalla, and he helped his new club to the Spanish Cup final where, coincidentally, they lost to Valencia.
But the winger returned to his former club a year later for 1million Euros on a six-year contract.
He earned a regular spot in the starting XI in 2009, despite competition from Spanish international Joaquin, and his performances that year earned him a first cap for Spain as they finished third in the Confederations Cup.
Capped four times by Spain, Hernandez has plenty of experience of playing against English opposition - he featured in the Champions League group matches against Manchester United in 2010-11 and Chelsea in the same competition last season before Valencia dropped into the Europa League where they beat Stoke City.
Last season he made 40 appearances in all competitions, scoring five times, as he helped Valencia to third spot in La Liga which ensured qualification for the Champions League.
"I managed Pablo in Getafe and he did fantastic for us,’’ explained Swans boss Michael Laudrup. “He did so well and went back to Valencia, who are the equivalent in Spain of Arsenal over here.
"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."