When Leeds United announced the signing of Luciano Becchio in 2008, not even the most optimistic of their supporters would have been able to predict just how big of an impact he would go on to have at Elland Road.
Having been released by Spanish side Merida, the forward was brought in on a free transfer by then-boss Gary McAllister, a decision which can be looked at in hindsight as somewhat of a masterstroke.
With Leeds aiming to secure promotion to the Championship, Becchio was partnered with Jermaine Beckford up-front with the deadly duo going on to cause havoc in the third tier.
Whereas the former would end the regular season with 18 goals to his name, the latter fired in an incredible total of 27 as the Whites reached the play-offs.
However, despite Becchio scoring in the second leg of their semi-final with Millwall, Leeds were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Kenny Jackett’s side.
Whereas many sides end up struggling in the season after a play-off defeat, the Whites instead used their experience as motivation to avoid the same scenario in the 2009/10 campaign.
In what was an incredible year for the Yorkshire-based outfit, Becchio would play a major role in helping them to a second-place finish in League One by scoring 15 goals yet it was his contributions in the FA Cup which left a lasting memory for the club’s supporters.
After featuring in Leeds’ 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Boca Juniors academy graduate levelled up proceedings during a fourth-round replay clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Although Jermain Defoe would end up sealing victory for the Lilywhites, Becchio had displayed a level of performance which would allow him to thrive in the Championship over the following three years.
A prolific finisher whilst in the second tier, the forward managed to reach double figures in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons for Leeds before taking his game to new heights during the 2012/13 campaign.
Starting the year in red hot form, Becchio fired in 19 goals in all competitions before Norwich City came calling in the January transfer window.
With Premier League football being offered by the Canaries, the forward ended his five-year association with the Whites by agreeing to a move to Carrow Road.
By scoring 86 goals in 221 appearances, Becchio is understandably somewhat of a cult hero amongst Leeds fans who would have loved to have been able to call upon his services during the 2018/19 campaign.
Although now retired, if Becchio was still playing it is clear that he would have been the perfect player to lead the Whites over the line in their push for promotion given his previous escapades at Elland Road.
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