Palermo duo Granddi Ngoyi and Sol Bamba are being linked with moves to Elland Road while Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has ruled out the potential return of fan favourite, Luciano Becchio.

Bamba, a French-born defender who plays international football for Ivory Coast looks like he’d be a very good acquisition. The 30-year-old hasn’t played much football since joining Palermo in August but he does have experience in the Championship having spent a season and half at Leicester City.

More of an uncertainty would be Ngoyi, the latest player to be linked with a move to Elland Road. His career seems to have gone downhill somewhat since featuring for the French U21 from 2008-10 while playing for Paris St Germain. He joined second tier side Troyes in 2012 before playing regularly in the Italian second tier as Palermo secured promotion to Serie A last season.

Ngoyi is a defensive midfielder and would likely slot in alongside Lewis Cook if Leeds continue with the 4-2-3-1 formation used in our last couple of outings, a position Rodolph Austin, who’s out of contract at the end of the season and has been subject to some speculation regarding his future already this month, has played in the past.

The biggest news this week however was Massimo Cellino’s apparent snub of Luciano Becchio, a proven goalscorer at Championship level and the kind of leading striker we’re currently lacking. As mentioned in our match report of the draw away to Bolton Wanderers, Steve Morison was something of a default choice for the 4-2-3-1 formation as neither Billy Sharp or Micro Antenucci are suited to the lone striker role.

A move to bring Luciano Becchio back, something Neil Redfearn publicly admitted he’d like to see, was therefore considered something of a ‘no-brainer’ by most fans since he can lead the line effectively on his own but would also be a valuable partner to Sharp or Antenucci when Leeds field two strikers. as I still expect we’ll do at home.

But Cellino seems to be sticking to a policy of signing out-of-favour players from the Italian leagues, something that hasn’t served us particularly well so far. While Antenucci and a couple of others have done OK, none of them have really set the division alight and there’s been an understandable learning process for them all which has probably been our biggest issue this season. This was always going to be a transitional season and that problem was to be expected, but when skirting so close to the edge of relegation, adding more unknowns who need to find their feet will only compound the issues Leeds have.

Losing Stephen Warnock will be a major blow to a side desperately lacking in experience which makes the Becchio snub all the more frustrating. He’s the kind of player who could have made a major impact in our efforts to avoid another plunge into the dark depths of League One.

37 Responses

  1. matt bb

    Were doomed if he carries on ignoring those around him who know this league. Becchio would have been a freedman-esque loan signing. But cellino listens to no one and will see us relegated. Buffoon

    • PAUL W

      I totally agree with you. Becchio would be a dream signing, who knows the Championship very well and he’d fit in straight away, but Cellino thinks he knows more than we do about Championship football and he is leading our football club to League 1 and nowhere else.
      The three new players that Leeds will probably sign, will all have to learn quickly or their presence in the team will be pointless, just like the fading out-of-depth players like Bianchi, Doukara and Antenucci.

      • phil

        Agree. Disappointment after disappointment. Cellino is to tight for English football!! Will premier league football ever come back to elland road?

      • PAUL W

        I’d be very happy with Championship football, the way things are going at this moment in time, but that is currently in the balance until the Leeds players grow a pair of balls.

      • Chareose

        Antenucci hasn’t faded, if hed had wingers either side of him from day one hed be on 20 goals by now

      • Ron

        Completely agree re. Antenucci. The guy knows he is being benched simply because we have chosen a band-aid system in an attempt to stem the flow of goals against us. It’s incredible that for the first 2 months of the year this blog was full of fans raving about Silvestri, Antenucci and Bianchi. Now the knives are out.

        Cellino made it very clear when he took over that our cost structure was a joke and needed to be addressed i.e. Hunt, Warnock. I’m expecting Byram to be sold this window also as I suspect he’s on good wages and his sale can help bolster the coffers. Sad but true. Bit like the club really. Going to get worse before it gets better.

      • TSS

        I know you’re talking about the fans commenting on here and not me, but I’ve yet to be convinced by Bianchi. He’s tidy enough in possession I guess but he’s not particularly creative going forward or vital to our defensive efforts. Bit like Kilkenny in that respect, who I saw the value of but never really rated either.

        Silvestri I kinda jumped the gun a little and named him player of the season after the first half dozen games and he remains an excellent shot-stopper he just seems to have lost all command of the area, very rarely comes to collect when he should be and often palms and punches the balls he is forced to deal with when it’s as easy to catch. Think he lost confidence after a couple of blunders and hasn’t been quite the same since.

        Antenucci has an annoying habit of being offside constantly but this I feel is because he’s more of a second-striker who’d be more comfortable working off someone like Becchio leading the line. That said, when Antenucci stays onside and gets service, he can be deadly. Definitely one of the better signings.

      • Ron

        It seems we have a player for every formation, but just not enough quality to stick with one formation. Very annoying for the fans and the players. To be fair to Salerno and Cellino, we need to let them clear the decks as far as they are concerned and see what the squad looks like after the summer………hopefully not in League 1……

  2. Tim

    There was no way Cellino was going to meet Becchio’s wages having arranged to get Hunt off the books and also Warnock, both as high earners. Anyway, Redfearn won’t be at the helm after Saturday if we have another poor result against a much improved Birmingham side, closely followed by Bournemouth.
    Serie B players fall somewhere between the Conference and Division 2 in my opinion and are just not suited to a survival battle in the Championship.
    I fully expect Cellino to be banned next week with the knock on effect of relegation and then the loss of our best youngsters. It sounds depressing but probably realistic at this stage. I really hope I am proved wrong but frankly I just don’t have the enthusiasm to drive over to Elland Road from the east coast this Saturday even though I have a season ticket. Sometimes as a life long Leeds supporter you just have to take a step back for your own sanity!

    • Chareose

      I think the players we have signed have ability but many haven’t proven themselves and are struggling to be consistent and cope with the physicality of the Championship…. Adryan has ability but like Sloth hes not really proven himself in a competitive division. Both were complete gambles……. I still think Adryan could become a good player if he cam get a bit of confidence and score a few goals but it may not happen with Leeds.
      Antenucci is decent and maybe could be played behind a target man in a 5 man midfield. Silvestri is OK and so is Berardi…….. I don’t know about Sharpe…..maybe like Adryan he just needs a few goals. Cooper is quality and I hope may become a premiership standard defender.
      Now we have gone back to a formation with Width I think we have the makings of a half decent team…. but we need a left sided winger who can score ……Gradel ?? (sighs)
      The players we are linked with are mostly Serie A and I think decent Serie A quality players is what Cellino needs to be going for to try to compete in our division……..however there is the problem of the embargo and the wage cap….and theres the fact that foreign players need a few months to settle in………..

    • Irving08

      This is not the time to take a step back Tim; do that when we’re successful and in less need of life long supporters such as yourself. I would have thought that the opportunity to witness the forced development of talented youngsters like Cook, Mowatt, Dawson and Taylor was incentive enough. In any event, I think you are overly pessimistic about our chances.

      • henrymouni

        We’ve not been able to keep our talented youngsters for some time now Irv.
        Any good bids for them, and we may be waving them goodbye.
        Day 15 of the transfer window comes to a close with no ‘incomings’, but I suspect our ‘outgoings’ will continue.
        We MUST survive in this league, but we are not doing a lot about it just now.
        Our displays are powder puff, and we have not turned the corner.
        We are not ‘too good to go down’.

      • Irving08

        My sense is that Cellino’s strategy is based on them: he doesn’t need to sell them, to boot !

  3. Mike

    As long as we survive I think in the long run we’ll turn out for the better, just think about it after this season we’ll have a whole squad with the ever important Championship experience that everyone seems to think is the difference maker.

    • Tim

      Yes but half the squad are loanees! It’s all if’s and but’s and it shouldn’t be this way. I think I will keep right off football either live, Sky Sports or BT this weekend and watch Games of Thrones – at least it’s fantasy and will save me from the gin bottle!!

      • Mike

        Thought only 3 of them were loanees now? at most its 4 since we cant have too many foreign loanees and i know were not at the max of 5

      • Chareose

        Benedicic, Del Fabro, Montenegro and Adryan are loans
        Doukara was made permanent. Antenucci, Bellusci, Bianchi, Silvestri, Berardi, Taylor, Sloth, Cooper, Ajose, Sharpe are all permanent

      • Mike

        I’d forgotten Benedicic! We havent seen him in ages because of that injury/surgery.

      • Enrico Ferrante

        Please, remember that Cellino CANNOT buy players cause the embargo he herited by others managers…Give him credit, give him chance to real run this club and since next season you all will enjoy yourselves at Elland’s Road.

      • Irving08

        It’s never dull here Enrico; Massimo has added to the gaiety of Elland Road life. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, to boot.

      • henrymouni

        I think booting Massimo in the head is a bit extreme Irv!!
        I am sure he is doing his best!!

  4. Markman

    The Becchio of old yes
    The Becchio of today no
    His type of wages could be better spent

  5. Clive Sanderson

    For the first time I’m considering not going to see Leeds this Saturday. We need experienced players like Warnock (who’s been excellent for us this season) and becchio. Starting to loose faith in Cellino now. Redfearn must feel deflated after Cellino’s comments about Becchio and the sale of such a key player like Warnock.

  6. henrymouni

    Same old crap.
    The players we can get, we don’t want.
    The players we do want, don’t want us and our poor wages.
    Who wants to join a team in our position?
    Just another transfer window non-event.
    We fans keep taking a beating.

  7. oldschoolbaby

    I still think that, led by the youngsters, we are too good to go down. I don’t think it`s coincidence that the foreign legion have gone off the boil in the depths of a wet, murky Yorkshire winter. I would expect them to pick up the pace when the days lengthen.
    I can`t see it is really worth bothering this transfer window. What we need will be very difficult to obtain, especially given our off field difficulties. Reinforcements who are much of a muchness with what we have won`t help NR. He already is spoilt for choice in a number of positions.
    The idea of a smiling Italian assassin waiting in the long grass for a clear shot at Warnock is rather unpalatable. But if his wages are reinvested in Cook I can live with his departure. He`s already like a car that you`re apprehensive about taking for a MOT.

    • Irving08

      Also I suspect Warnock has been playing for this exit. I wouldn’t have put my money on him playing his heart out for the lads’ had he been forced to stay to see out his contract; an enhanced offer was plainly out of the question. As for Becchio, he’s gone a long time without playing any serious football and I recall him requiring time to get started. I am therefore not sure how much we would have got out of him this season had he come. Like you, I think our younger players have enough skill, stamina and gumption to get us through this difficult – yet interesting – season.

      • Mike

        Maybe he’s good at faking genuine then, I feel like Redders has been around the football world long enough and would be able to tell something’s up and/or not have given him the captaincy if he had sensed that.

      • Irving08

        Maybe – but my impression of Warnock was that he played for himself first and foremost: he’s been around the football a fair while too. Who else could Redders have given the captaincy to ?

  8. Martín Becerra

    Bring back Luciano! He is the man! We need him back! He score more goals and cost less than Berbatov! Come on Leeds! MOT!

  9. Scally Lad

    Agreed. Becchio would almost certainly be enough to prevent us from returning to League One this season!

      • Mike

        Unless there’s suitable replacement(s) waiting in the wings. Don’t dislike the man but you have to wonder how many issues we’re yet to have?

      • henrymouni

        I understand he has another couple cases in Italy, which could mean further suspensions.
        If his son gets the job, it will be business as usual.

      • Irving08

        Let’s hope he does. Massimo is a football man, a generous and big-hearted human being and with no agenda other than to make us great again.

  10. PMH

    Breaking News: Cellino is dishonest. What a shocker! I don’t know how Leeds will run the operation without an owner, but i’m thinking the decisions can’t be too much worse than what we’ve already seen. A few months with NO irrational decisions might not be a bad thing at all. Maybe we can just let the coach and players get on with playing football.

    • Irving08

      I am puzzled why you seem to derive so much pleasure from all this: I wonder what world you live in. And what decisions do you have in mind ?


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