Busy Cellino in pledge to Leeds United and Cagliari

Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

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Massimo Cellino has promised that he will not see Cagliari “go to waste” or allow his focus on Leeds United to be diluted while he works towards the sale of his Italian club.

Cellino said he could “run Cagliari from here and do what needs to be done” at Elland Road as a group of unnamed American investors attempt to follow up his takeover of Leeds by buying him out of Cagliari.

The 57-year-old businessman finalised his purchase of a majority stake in United last Tuesday but he retains control of Serie A side Cagliari – a team he bought back in 1992 – and is still to agree terms with the interested US consortium.

The prospective investors, none of whom have been identified, want to secure control of Cagliari and reach a deal which gives them a mandate to completely rebuild the club’s Stadio Sant’Elia ground.

Cagliari’s stadium has grown increasingly derelict over the years and is currently able to hold a capacity crowd of just 5,000. The group bidding to take charge of the club are unlikely to do so unless they secure permission to construct a new arena on the same site.

Cellino is committed to selling Cagliari with Leeds now under his control, conceding last week that he could not run both clubs in the long-term, but he said his Sardinian team would be looked after until a takeover went through and insisted that work involved in cutting his ties with Cagliari would not affect his input at Elland Road.

“At Cagliari I have to find buyers and when you try to find buyers, you don’t waste the club,” Cellino said. “I still have to look after the club. It’s good and organised and it stays like that.

“I can run Cagliari from here for now and do what needs to be done (at Leeds). At Leeds I have to build a new organisation and it can’t wait. I must engage myself.”

Luca Silvestrone, a spokesman for the American group discussing the sale of Cagliari, has described the negotiations as “delicate” but he said on Sunday that if discussions went well, “by the end of the season there will be a change of ownership between us and Massimo Cellino.”

The Italian season finishes on Sunday, May 18, two weeks after the Championship term ends.

Cellino has not said whether money raised from any sale of Cagliari would be directed towards his new investment at Elland Road but he made a significant financial outlay during his first week as owner of Leeds, addressing a late tax bill and overdue wages and meeting the rent payments for Elland Road and Thorp Arch.

Lee Chapman at the open top bus parade on May 3, 1992.

Leeds United ‘92: ‘It was a wonderful, unexpected achievement’ - Lee Chapman