Leeds United: Cellino completes Cagliari sale

Massimo Cellino.
Massimo Cellino.
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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has completed his sale of Italian club Cagliari in a deal worth more than £35m.

The Floursid Group - a chemical firm run by the family of former Inter Milan executive Tommaso Giulini - has bought a 100 per cent stake in Cagliari, ending Cellino’s 22-year reign as president.

Cellino bought the Sardinian side in 1992 but had been attempting to sell them since acquiring 75 per cent of Leeds in April.

A proposed deal with a group of unnamed American investors collapsed a week ago but the sale to Floursid went through last night, worth a reported 45m euros.

Cellino has been in Italy throughout this week but will return to Leeds tomorrow to press ahead with his search for a new head coach.

The Italian has identified Reading academy coach Eamonn Dolan as his preferred candidate for the post at Elland Road, though Reading insisted yesterday that they were not open to offers for him.

Speaking to the YEP, Cellino said: “I’ve closed the deal on Cagliari and now I’m coming back to Leeds to pick a coach and finish the team for next season.

“Cagliari were my love and my dream but I don’t look back, only forward. I’ve sold them to people who will look after the club, I’m sure about that.

“Now I can give all of myself to Leeds. People question me and my decisions but I know what I’m doing. I’ll show everyone that.”

The sale of Cagliari could clear the way for Nicola Salerno, the club’s sporting director, to join Cellino at Elland Road.

Salerno is a long-time ally of Cellino’s and has spoken about the possibility linking up with Leeds if and when Cagliari changed hands.

Italian side Palermo are also interested in employing him.

Talking this week, Salerno said: “I have a duty towards Cellino.

“The Leeds hypothesis is concrete, I’m considering it carefully.”

Cellino is facing a pressing bill of £950,000 after losing a court battle with Sport Capital in London yesterday.

At a High Court hearing, Cellino was ordered to repay a loan given to Leeds by Sport Capital in November of last year.

United have until June 23 to complete repayment or face a winding-up order, and the club’s bank account will remain frozen until the money is transferred.

The playing squad at Elland Road are still waiting for their salaries for May having gone without wages last month.

Chris Wood controls a high ball against Fulham at Elland Road on Tuesday night. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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