To say the last few years at Elland Road have been chaotic would be to deal in understatement. In particular, the debacle since April during the Cellino era has brought despair to many Leeds fans. This was reflected in the way Leeds saw out last season. In short, it’s a pretty bleak picture. So maybe the only way is up now?
Certainly, the signings of two Italians demonstrate who is really making the managerial decisions at the club. Leeds have brought in Tommaso Bianchi on a permanent contract along with Souleymane Doukara for one season on a loan basis.
Bianchi, a 25 year-old midfielder joins us for a four-year contract from Serie-A team Sassuolo (though he’d spent the last season on loan with Serie B side Modena). Dave Hockaday has pronounced himself happy with the signing – but it may well be a fait-accompli! Meanwhile, the Senegalese striker Doukara, aged just 22, joins us from Italian club Serie-A club Catania. These two Italy-based players join keeper Marco Silvestri who came in from another Serie-A side Chievo – also on a four-year deal. The 23 year-old is an ex Under-21 international for Italy – though he was also on loan last season Serie-A club Cagliari, for whom he made just three appearances.
The trio of Italians come in as other players exit Elland Road – including utility man Danny Pugh who was out of contract – and, of course, Ross McCormack who has joined Championship newcomers courtesy of relegation from the Premier League ,Fulham. The details of this deal weren’t disclosed but the fee is thought to be around £11 million.
So where does all this leave us? Well the key question for most fans is who’s really going to be pulling the strings when it comes to team selection and tactics – and will we get a new man in to work alongside or over Dave Hockaday? This is the most important decision affecting the club but it seems likely that Cellino and Benito Carbone will want to see how things progress for a while first. Who knows – there may be other new (Italian…?) sounding names in before the end of August?
Let’s hope it all works out because the only way really is up from here – surely? The Whites are currently a tempting 12-1 to be promoted at the end of the season (i.e. including the third play-off winner’s promotion place). This may seem like forlorn hope, but stranger things have happened and we cannot deny there will be big changes – this year – whether for better or worse!
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