Heading into the January transfer window, Leeds United were sitting fourth in the Championship, just nine points off the top of the league.
It had been an impressive opening 28 matches for Garry Monk’s side who had won 16 and drawn three of their fixtures up until the end of January in the 2016/17 campaign.
With the window set to close imminently, Monk was still on the lookout for recruits to get Leeds to consolidate a play-off place and push towards making a late charge towards the automatic promotion spots.
So the Leeds boss looked to add more firepower and creativity to his side, and he did that in fine fashion when on January 31, 2017, Alfonso Pedraza was signed on a loan deal until the end of the season from Villarreal.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 31, 2017
The signing certainly caught the eye of the Leeds faithful with their positive response to their deadline day addition.
good start. You've now got seven hours to sign a striker.
— Alex (@alexlicense) January 31, 2017
Pedraza, Hernandez and Wood. Announce promotion immediately. pic.twitter.com/hWHdshEJ5R
— Oliver White (@OliWhiteMOT93) January 31, 2017
— Joe (@Morrisp4pi) January 31, 2017
That'll do. For now. Cheers ????
— Chantelle (@clunn1989) January 31, 2017
— jack (@lufc_) January 31, 2017
welcome on board! exciting signing!
— Daz @ Mayalukas (@DazMayalukas) January 31, 2017
Having played the first half of the season in the Spanish second division with Lugo, Leeds were the Spaniard’s first club in the EFL, and he made his debut on February 5, 2017, in the 2-1 reverse away at Huddersfield, coming off the bench to do so.
The move came to fruition when Pedraza’s parent club paid Lugo £300,000 to cancel the loan deal to move to England.
The loan agreement between the two clubs was confirmed that should Leeds gain promotion to the Premier League that season, they would have a first option on the then 20-year-old so buy for £8.5million
It would be third-time lucky for the midfielder who would score on his third appearance for the club as they secured their first win since his arrival.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) March 3, 2017
The goal was to the delight of the Leeds fans who were hoping for more and urged the club to sign the player up on a permanent deal.
Love it. Well played Alfonso. First of many hopefully.
— TONY DICKINSON (@TonyDickinson8) March 3, 2017
BUY HIM NOW LADS.
— Daniel Hurton (@ItsCurnsStupid) March 3, 2017
That would be his only goal for the club, and he would make a total of 14 appearances.
Leeds dipped in form and only won one of their last eight matches as the club would eventually finish 7th in the table, just five points outside the play-offs.
And with the chance of promotion to the Premier League impossible, the clause to sign Pedraza for £8.5million became obsolete and he returned to the Estadio de la Ceramica after what was a rather hit and miss loan spell in England.
Despite the club’s fans bullish optimism about their chances of promotion after Pedraza’s arrival, he was unable to facilitate that with the other players in the side as they fell short.
It is a case of what might have been for the Leeds fans had they been able to go up and sign the then highly-rated youngster.