Totti's mentor - The reason Brazilian starlet is resisting Leeds move?

Elland Road

Cagliari wonderkid Adryan has reportedly put the brakes on a move to Leeds United - could he be holding out to play under attack-master Zdenek Zeman?

Italian football has long had a reputation for defensive-mindedness, with the peninsula often pointed to as a mecca for the tactical, measured side of the game.

Whilst this reputation can sometimes be overemphasised to the point of stereotype, there is certainly something to be said for it. Serie A football is unique, and historically has indeed placed a high premium on organisation and solidity.

Though Zdenek Zeman - a Czech-born 30-plus year veteran of coaching in Italy - has long been flying in the face of the traditional values of calcio.

Zeman has spent the past three decades carving out a cult following with his ‘kamikaze’ style of play, an advocate of playing all-out attacking football at all costs.

And after taking charge of sides ranging from the likes of Foggia to Roma down the years, the 67-year-old landed on the Cagliari bench this summer as Massimo Cellino sold the club to acquire Leeds United.

As Cellino has cast his eye towards Italy to strengthen Leeds’ squad, his gaze has fixed on several of his former players at Cagliari - the latest being Brazilian starlet Adryan.

The 19-year-old - who admitted to turning down Manchester United three years ago - is currently on loan in Sardinia from Flamengo, and regarded as one of Brazil’s brightest young talents.

Recent reports have claimed Cellino is keen to bring Adryan to Elland Road in light of his promise, adding to the collection of five players already to arrive from Italy.

But Isola24sport have claimed that Adryan is resisting a move to Leeds, not content with dropping down from Serie A to the Championship.

However, beyond league disparity, there could well be another reason the teenager is hesitant to leave the Stadio Sant’Elia - Zeman himself.

The legendary coach has widely been credited for launching the careers of a slew of prodigious young attackers in the past - including Beppe Signori and Francesco Totti.

Ciro Immobile, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne also all leapt to the next level after spending a year under Zeman at Pescara in the 2011-12 campaign - now internationally recognised stars.

And so for Adryan, the chance to ply his trade under the Czech boss’ direction at Cagliari may be too good to pass up.

Looking at the types of talents Zeman has blooded in the past and his own prodigious potential, it’s quite conceivable that the Brazilian sees this season as his chance to truly break out.

Moving to Leeds would be to step away from this opportunity to learn from Zeman - one Adryan doesn’t look like giving up willingly.

A final decision on the young trequartista’s immediate future is still yet to be made, but his personal stance on the matter seems quite clear - and there’s a distinct possibility Zeman has plenty to do with his reported desire to stay put at Cagliari.

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