Leeds United have been linked with the signing of Mexican international Andrés Guardado, but what would he bring to Elland Road?
Guardado is a 31 year-old winger, known as Principito (aka the Little Prince). He’s played over 350 game for multiple clubs and 142 times for the Mexican national side. The Express are reporting that Leeds are nearing a £5.2m deal to sign him.
Guardado is a true veteran of the game, and knows about the ups and downs of relegation and promotion, having been relegated with Deportivo La Coruña in 2010/11, then promoted in 2011/12. So would instantly relate to Leeds’ plight.
Originally a flying winger, Guardado was moved to left-back when he started playing for Valencia and took to it well. His natural work ethic and defensive instincts made him a decent choice out there and if Valencia were less of a disorganised mess he could have made a good career.
He’s not just some journeyman, though. His time at PSV Eindhoven, where he changed position again to play as a central midfielder, saw him win some top level club silverware.
With Guardado at the heart of their side, running midfield, PSV won the Eredivisie back-to-back. The Mexican was the playmaker of the side that made Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum stars, and even toppled Manchester United in the Champions League.
His versatility will make him very useful to Thomas Christiansen, as he could cover multiple spots in a pinch. For the most part though he would likely play at the heart of midfield, allowing him to run the show.
And Leeds fans will be happy to know that playing as a central midfielder did nothing to dull his attacking instincts. In his three years at PSV, only two players completed more dribbles than he did in the middle of the park.
Guardado completed 22/27 dribbles in the middle area of the pitch, at a success rate of 81% He was judicious with where and when to move with the ball at his feet and nearly always picked the right moment. He is a player of undiminished creativity (He created 14 chances for PSV in that central zone, 5th best in the Eredivisie).
Even this season at Real Betis, Guardado has been a telling influence on his side. He was a crucial figure when they shocked the world by beating Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. The kind of match that proved he can mix it bigger and better sides, something that will obviously be music to Leeds fans ears.
Guardado would bring a stature to Leeds, a knowledge of how to win things and go back and do it again. That kind of experience is priceless. And going from being relegated in 2011 to winning a Title in 2015 shows he knows that struggling and striving do eventually lead to triumph if the quality is there.
His story perfectly mirrors the one that Leeds will want for their club. He’d be a great signing, an invaluable piece of the puzzle that, when complete, will see Leeds United return to the big time.
In other news, 3 players who left West Ham and regretted it