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  • 11/07/14 - Also advises club is debt free with £20m working capital and deal done to release cash to purchase Elland Road
  • 11/07/14 - Cellino tells @APOPEY that club will sign Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini & French striker Soulemayne Doukara
  • 09/07/14 - Is McCormack sale any different?: And so after much speculation Ross McCormack has finally complet... Link
  • 08/07/14 - Ross McCormack joins Fulham on 4 year deal for fee beleived to be in the region of £11 million
  • 03/07/14 - Club statement regarding Ross McCormack and recent media speculation - Link
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08 Jul 2014 09:06pm, by Shields53

And so after much speculation Ross McCormack has finally completed his transfer to Fulham, signing a four year deal with the west London club. The deal is said to be worth around £11 million which is a significantly more than the £300,000 Leeds paid Cardiff for McCormack back in 2010. Although McCormack is proven at Championship level, averaging a goal every three games, he has been hot and cold. One decent season at Cardiff and one very good season at Leeds does not really add up to such a staggering fee. You can certainly say one things for Cellino in this deal, he drives a hard bargain. With early bids in the region of £5 million he seems to have squeezed the maximum amount possible from Fulham. Cellino is adamant though that he did not want to sell McCormack telling the Yorkshire Evening Post;

“I like to be in control of situations but it felt like he wasn’t my player. I was disrespected, he was aggressive with me. He didn’t turn up for the tour and all the time he wanted to go from here. It wasn’t in my mind to sell McCormack, it wasn’t my plan, but I had no choice. He’s a bloody good player and I’m not going to pretend that he isn’t but he didn’t respect me and it wasn’t possible to keep him.”

We have grown used to selling the family jewels over the years; Schmeichel, Gradel, Howson, Snodgrass and Becchino have all left in recent seasons. All for a combined fee less than this deal it is worth pointing out. But is this time different? Cellino seems fairly insistent that he did not want or need to sell the player but realising that it would be impossible to keep hold of him has ensured the club got the maximum value. Previous sales have reeked of desperation with players being sold for low fees to ensure we did not lose out when contracts expired and players who did not want to leave the club sold to balance the books.

This time, if what Cellino says is true, there is no requirement to sell players simply to balance the books. Despite the recent financial difficulties at the club it may be that we are in a position to reinvest a large proportion of the fee received for McCormack in new players. If Cellinos summer spending had already been budgeted for it may even provide a significant contribution to the re-purchase of Elland Road and Thorp Arch. Cellino will not or should not be judged on his words though, only his actions will tell us what the real situation I behind the scenes and if we can expect this money to be reinvested.

The club has been surrounded in the fog of the transfer embargo but shortly after the McCormack sale was confirmed Cellino announced the signings of goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi. They are the second and third new additions to the squad following on from the signing of goalkeeper Stuart Taylor last week. They are hardly big name signings though and many fans will believe we are still nowhere near being in a position to compete next year.

But what does McCormack move say about the club? Is it coincidence that his supposed transfer request was made the day after Hockaday was named head coach? Many would question McCormacks move to Fulham as lacking ambition, a move to another Championship club with small crowds would hardly seem to be the next step up for last years Championship top scorer. Perhaps McCormack is disillusioned with the situation at Leeds. With the sacking of a manger he clearly had a strong bond with and fought hard to keep at the club only to be replaced by a non-league manager maybe McCormack felt it was Leeds, not him that lacked ambition. His only comment so far on the move has been via Instagram;

“New start. Thanks for the good wishes. Devastated to leave Leeds under a cloud after 4 thoroughly enjoyable years. Will always be a fan.”

At the moment I can’t help feel that it is Leeds that are lacking the ambition. Cellino talks about respect a lot, as has Hockaday, but so far neither of them has earned my respect. Cellino appears to have shown little respect to his former manager, staff at Elland Road, certain players and the fans. The fans are what make this club and if Cellino wants us to respect him then he needs to act on his words. If McCormack did not have to be sold then we need to see the money reinvested. We need to see intent and ambition. So far hiring a non-league coach, selling your best player and buying mainly second tier Italian players does not feel that ambitious.

30 Jun 2014 07:17am, by Shields53

So I go away for a week and what happens? Over in Brazil Luis Suarez bites an Italian, Chris Kamara turns vigilante and chases down a street robber (Unbelievable Jeff!) and back at home in England Leeds United have finally started their pre-season preparations. The new all white home shirt for the new season has also been launched which a pleasant change from recent years shirts.

It seems with the appointment of Hockaday and the players return to training last week (Including a rather well upholstered Paddy Kenny) things are starting to get into motion, though perhaps the most important arrival at the club this summer will be that of Cellino's right hand man, former Cagliari Sporting Director Nicola Salerno.

Salerno has dropped strong hints that he has joined up with Massimo Cellino again at Leeds after turning down an offer from Palermo. Though nothing has officially been announced by the club yet Salerno told ItaSportPress that he was working for Leeds. "I chose to jump on the wagon with Massimo because there is a relationship of respect and friendship between us. We plan to consolidate the club and in two, a maximum of three years, take it to the Premier League.” With Salerno acting as Sporting Director looking to bring in Italian talent and Benito Carbone responsible for ‘technical and football operations’ including the academy the real power looks to be with these men. It seems to leave Dave Hockaday and Junior Lewis with little more to do than set out the cones on the Thorp Arch training pitches.

Despite still being under a transfer embargo Leeds have been linked with several players based in Italy. There is hope that now the clubs bank account has been unfrozen that the embargo can be lifted today ahead of the window opening tomorrow. The first player linked was 21 year old Chievo goalkeeper Marco Silvestri who was on loan at Cagliari last season. Silvestri’s agent Francesco Romano is said to have already agreed a deal with Salerno and that Silvestri has already visited Leeds and seen the facilities. Hellas Verona’s striker Daniele Cacia is also rumoured to be a target of Cellino’s having found himself down the pecking order behind Luca Toni. The 30 year old made only 13 appearances, starting in only three, and failed to score last season.

Other rumoured targets include 27 year Siena old left back Fabrizio Grillo. Salerno said of Grillo “Yes he is a player that I respect and in whom I might be interested”. Roma midfielder Federico Viviani's agent Giovanni Ferro has also hinted that Leeds could be a destination for the 22 year old although he also implied there had been interest from other English clubs. Armando Izzo is another young Italian linked with a move to Leeds. The 22 year old centre back currently plays for Serie B side Avellino featuring in 30 out of a possible 42 games last season, part of a defence that conceded only 45 league goals. British based French midfielder Romain Vincelot has also been the subject of speculation with Leeds United rumoured to be amongst several clubs preparing bids to prise him away from Leyton Orient.

As well as rumours of players being signed there have also been movements in the opposite direction. The club announced that former captain Lee Peltier’s contract had been cancelled by ‘mutual consent’ before he re-signed for his former club Huddersfield Town for whom he made 80 appearances between 2009 and 2011. Cellino is also be rumoured to be trying to cancel the signing of Cameron Stewart which was due to be made permanent on 1st July. Stewart was absent from the first day back at training and is said to be unwanted after failing to impress during his 11 games on loan last season.

There has of course been much speculation and rumour regarding the future of last season’s top scorer Ross McCormack much of it from the tabloid press. With Adam Pope reporting this morning that he has not travelled to Italy with the rest of the squad there is increased uncertainty over the strikers future at the club.

The squad will fly to northern Italy today for a two week training camp in the Santa Cristini region of Val Gardena with the exception of Alex Mowatt and Scott Wootton who both picked up injuries in the off-season. Following their return from Italy the club have announced the following away pre-season fixtures; Guiseley AFC - July 19th KO 3pm, Corby Town - July 23rd KO 7.45pm, Chesterfield FC - July 26th KO 3pm and Glenavon FC July 30th KO 7.45pm.

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