Would Cellino be good news for Leeds?

Leeds United East Stand

Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino is set to buy Leeds United if the Italian press are to be believed, but what would that mean for the club?

Any Cagliari fan will tell you, love him or loathe him, there's never a dull moment with Sardinian entrepreneur Massimo Cellino at the reins.

Since buying Cagliari in 1992, Cellino has been an inspirational figure and a ludicrous one almost in equal measure.

The club has to some extent flourished and set its foundations in Serie A rather than hovering between the top three divisions as the Rossoblu did in the late 1980s.

But Cellino's attempts to build a more suitable new ground for Cagliari have been a comedy of errors and ended in a bizarre period of house arrest last year when he was accused of embezzlement - charges that seemed spurious and politically motivated.

And Cellino's hands-on approach may not work well at Leeds or any other English club for that matter. The fiery businessman is known as a mangiaallenatori or 'manager eater' in Italy as he loses patience very quickly.

Cellino axed a total of 36 coaches in 20 years at Cagliari before finally sacking the team itself as he is preparing to sell up in order to dedicate himself to Leeds.

That's a scary proposition for Brian McDermott who also might not take kindly to Cellino's forceful suggestions of players to sign.

Behind the scenes, Cellino is known for his bizarre superstitions. He is famously phobic of the number 17 and believes purple to be an unlucky colour. Unless his team plays on the 17th when it cancels out, so fans must wear purple.

Cellino once told coach Massimiliano Allegri to change his black suit after losing five games in a row in 2009 as he felt it looked severe. Allegri replaced it with a blue one, a winning run ensued and they finished ninth.

While Cellino will claim that anecdote shows the importance of projecting the right appearance to your players, others would say it sums up his control freak tendency and that the change in results was completely unrelated.

Leeds fans may understandably feel uneasy at the prospect of Cellino upsetting the balance of the club, sacking managers and dictating transfer policy.

But Cellino's passion can be a positive thing. He has a vast fortune to spend and a wealth of contacts with top Italian players who would consider playing for him when they may otherwise dismiss a move to England.

If Cellino does succeed in buying Leeds, fans could be set for a roller-coaster ride but mercifully it appears the fixture list has spared them any games on the 17th.

image: © Jarrett Campbell

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