We take a look at five players Massimo Cellino has signed in the past that should give Leeds United fans confidence in his ability to scout out and attract the right player.
The new Leeds United supremo to some people seems eccentric and egotistical with regards to how he is running the club. Nevertheless, he has proven on numerous occasions in the past that he does have a keen eye for a player, and that he can attract big named stars too.
We take a look at five players that during his time at Cagliari has seen him do just that.
Davide Astori – AC Milan to Cagliari
One of the current stars of the Cagliari team, Davide Astori, was signed from AC Milan in 2008 for a relatively sizable fee despite only having experience in the lower Italian divisions on loan. Nevertheless, the defender hit the ground running and became one of the clubs star men, attracting interest from the likes of Spartak Moscow and Tottenham Hotspur.
In that time, he has also earned international recognition and won seven caps for Italy under Cesare Prandelli.
Federico Marchetti – AlbionoLeffe to Cagliari
The Italian international was snapped up by Cellino’s Cagliari in 2008 from Serie B side AlbinoLeffe after they missed out on promotion to Lecce. A small amount was swapped for the Serie B best goalkeeper award winning as he was promptly loaned back to his former club, indicating Cellino’s shrewdness in the transfer market.
During his first season in Serie A, the young goalkeeper caught the imagination of all the supporters. He went on to make his debut for Italy in 2009 after being named by Gianluigi Buffon as his favourite Italian young goalkeeper.
He moved to Lazio in 2011 after president Claudio Lotito activated the keepers €5.2 million release clause.
David Suazo – Olimpia to Cagliari
One of the most impressive signings by Cellino, from a Cagliari point-of-view, is David Suazo from Olimpia in 1999. The Honduran who, at that point, had just broken into the Honduras national side was brought over from his home nation to play with Cagliari in Serie A. In eight seasons with the club, he made nearly 276 appearances scoring 102 goals in all competitions. He also went on to win the Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year award in one of his final years at Cagliari.
He later moved to Serie A giants Internazionale for a deal worth €14 million and went on to play a big part in their title win in the 2007-2008 season.
Patrick M’Boma – Gamba Osaka to Cagliari
The name Patrick M’Boma is synonymous with the rise of Cameroonian football in the late 90s and early 00s, but Cellino can take a lot of the credit for his development after snapping him up from the J. League in 1998. The two time African Nations Cup winner played 40 Serie A games during his time with Cagliari and scored a respectable 15 goals along the way.
The striker, who was well renowned for his hammer shot, went on to win the African Footballer of the Year and the BBC African Footballer of the Year awards during his time at Cagliari and later went on to play in the Premier League with Sunderland in 2002.
Gianfranco Zola – Chelsea to Cagliari
Massimo Cellino, in 2003, pulled off perhaps his most impressive signing and arguably one of his most important during his time with the club. Zola, who is regarded as a Chelsea legend, agreed to join up with Cagliari a week before Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea. At the time, there were rumours that the Russian billionaire even offered to buy Cagliari from Cellino in order to get the experienced striker to return to Stamford Bridge, however, it wasn’t to be.
Zola went on to play a huge part in Cagliari’s return to the top flight and subsequent consolidation the next year before retiring in 2005 with a record of 22-goals in 74 games.