The Athletic’s Leeds United reporter Phil Hay has claimed that Spanish side Castellon could return in the summer window to sign veteran Pablo Hernandez – after the Whites turned down an approach on deadline day. Hernandez, of course, is a co-owner of the second-tier Spanish side and Hay thinks a move in the summer could materialise.

Hernandez, who turns 36 in April, has entered the last 18 months of his contract at Leeds and is struggling for game time. He has managed just 262 minutes in the Premier League this season, but hasnow played 168 times in all competitions for Leeds – more games than he has played for any other side, including Valencia where he played 157 times.

Hay reports that Castellon tried to sign their co-owner on a playing contract on deadline day – but Leeds turned that down, with the Whites seemingly keen to keep the playmaker. However, Hay also thinks that Castellon could return in the summer for Hernandez, suggesting that the former Spain international will not want to waste his remaining years as a player.

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“It was quite telling that Castellon had a nibble at Hernandez in January. They obviously think there’s a good chance of tempting him back (and they would know, given that Hernandez is a co-owner there). If he doesn’t play much, I think this story will probably come back around in the summer. I doubt he’ll want to lose the last years of his career barely playing,” Hay said, in an Athletic Q&A session on Wednesday.

Should Leeds be open to the exit of Hernandez? This season, he has dropped down the pecking order behind Rodrigo, Mateusz Klich and even Stuart Dallas – who has played in midfield of late. He struggles to play much more than 30 minutes a match given his age and the pace of the Premier League – and summer signings are expected.

So, perhaps, for the good of Hernandez and getting the last couple of seasons out of his professional playing career – Hernandez might have to consider departing Elland Road.

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