Massimo Cellino was a very odd man at Leeds United and his pursuit of Fernando Forestieri pretty much proved that.
We think it is fair to say that Leeds United were not enjoying their finest years circa 2015. Off the back of their extremely poor 2013/14 and 2014/15 campaigns, the Whites found themselves staring down the barrel of another disappointing season in the English Championship. With little to no quality in the forward positions, and those who considered “decent” underperforming massively, they were in desperate need of someone new and exciting to revamp their squad.
Enter, Fernando Forestieri.
The one that got away – Fernando Forestieri and Leeds United
Realistically speaking, there is very little substance to this transfer story. Indeed, we are pretty confident the idea of signing Forestieri lived and died inside Cellino’s warped little head. But it is a juicy saga to discuss, nonetheless.
Much in the same way we all wanted the super-expensive toy when we were younger but could not have it, Cellino fixated on the idea of signing the former Udinese and Watford man Fernando Forestieri with no real prospect of signing him.
The former Italy youth international was a decent enough talent at the time. He had supplied a total of 20 goals and 22 assists during his stint in the Championship with Watford having moved as part of the club’s ongoing relationship with Serie A side Udinese and was evidently everything Leeds United were looking for.
But this was all made obsolete by the fact Forestieri had no intention of joining the club. At all.
The Italian would later switch to Sheffield Wednesday, his current club, much to the displeasure of Cellino. The former Leeds United owner, clearly not used to getting his own way, threw his toys out of the pram and claimed that Forestieri lacks the “right mentality” to play for his club (as per Yorkshire Evening News).
…Forestieri responded perfectly.
Great win today! The whole team had the “right mentality” to win the 3 points!!! Thanks for all your support! pic.twitter.com/wH31KP2zbQ
— Fernando Forestieri (@Forestieri45) January 16, 2016
The Italian grabbed an impressive 15 goals in 36 appearances that year. While Leeds, on the other hand, were stuck with Jordan Botaka, a winger who managed just 14 appearances and one assist.