I heard of the proposed transfer of Fernando Forestieri from newly-promoted Premier League side Watford to Leeds United as I was about to enter a friend’s wedding reception. I didn’t believe that Leeds really could be in for such a quality player.
His transfer, should it come off would surely be a signal of Leeds United’s intentions ahead of the rest of the 2015/16 Championship season. A player of real potential and a proven qualty at Championship level, an instant upgrade to the team. It was reported in all the right sources, it had legs rather than being the usually half-baked rumour.
It wasn’t to be; it never came off. There was much wrangling and to-ing and fro-ing but in the end Forestieri declined to sign and instead signed for Leeds’ local rivals Sheffield Wednesday. This didn’t go down well with Leeds United’s owner, the volatile and unpredictable Italian Massimo Cellino, who questioned whether Forestieri had the necessary pluck to play for Leeds in the first place.
Talking to Leeds United’s website, Cellino said quite plainly, “We decided on Tuesday that we would not be signing Forestieri, it was clear he didn’t have the right mentality needed to come to Leeds. I want players to show a hunger and desire to come here – but he did not. It was not about the money. A player could cost £3million, £5m or be a free transfer, but if their mentality isn’t right then I will not sign them for Leeds. Players like Wood, Adeyemi and Dallas are what we need here – they gave everything to show that they wanted to join Leeds. Look at Murphy, he showed a great commitment to the club. All our new signings showed that they really wanted to play for Leeds. We are building a team of players with the same attitude and the mentality needed to make Leeds successful again. Forestieri did not show that and we have moved on.”
The thing that stung Forestieri was one thing, that the former Italian youth international, “didn’t have the right mentality needed to come to Leeds.” Well it was judging by his Tweet after today’s game at Hillsborough.
The 26-year-old Italian has scored 11 goals this season but none so direct and hard as the “right mentality” shot aimed at Massimo Cellino.