Cellino - Cagliari sale won’t affect Leeds

Share this article
Have your say

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino is to hold talks with former Inter director Tommaso Giulini tomorrow during a meeting which he hopes will close a deal to sell his Italian club Cagliari.

Cellino has two offers on the table for Cagliari - the Serie A side he bought in 1992 - after a group of US investors followed up news of a bid from Giulini by tabling an offer worth a reported £65m today.

But Cellino, who is juggling two professional clubs after buying a 75 per cent stake in Leeds on April 7, said tonight that the planned sale of Cagliari would make no difference to his strategy at Elland Road, saying he would “do the same as I’m doing now” if a deal came off.

Cellino has spent his first month-and-a-half at Leeds dealing with a long list of bills and debts and working to reduce the costs of a Championship club who are losing more than £1m a month.

The 57-year-old temporarily closed the club’s training ground at Thorp Arch a fortnight ago and began a formal process of redundancies among general staff last week.

The income he stands to earn by selling Cagliari was seen as a source of money to invest in United, but Cellino told the YEP: “It won’t make Leeds easier. It just means that in my mind I have only Leeds to think about. I can deal only with the problems I have here. That would be good.

“If I had £1bn, if I was the richest man in the world, I would do exactly the same with Leeds as I’m doing now. This club has to stop wasting money and stop looking for money from other people.

“It needs to pay for itself, not be paid for by Massimo Cellino or people with oil or Russian businessmen. Cagliari makes no difference to what I’m doing now or in the future.”

Cellino claimed to have been in discussions with Giulini - the managing director of Sardinian-based chemical company Fluorsid - for the past three months, though news of Giulini’s interest in Cagliari became public for the first time over the weekend.

The US bid - fronted by entrepreneur Luca Silvestrone - has been been known about for many weeks, and Cellino said the contrasting secrecy surrounding Giulini made him believe that the ex-Inter director’s offer was “more tangible, more concrete.”

But he stressed the importance of a quick deal, saying the need to begin planning for next season at Cagliari was putting pressure on takeover negotiations.

Giulini is travelling to England for more advanced talks with Cellino tomorrow.

“I have to close the deal,” Cellino said. “I can’t wait for days or weeks because there is so much to do at Cagliari, too much with players, the coach, everything.

“With Giulini, I’ve spoken to him for three months and he never said anything about it. That makes me think he is more tangible, more concrete. He is serious about getting it done.

“With the Americans, I thought it was all bulls**t. But apparently they are serious too. So we will see.”

Cellino has been owner and president of Cagliari for the past 22 years.

The club finished 15th in the Serie A after their last game of the 2013-14 season ended in a 3-0 defeat to Juventus on Sunday.

GRASS AIN'T GREENER: For Brentford boss Dean Smith.

Leeds United 1 Brentford 0: Bees boss Smith blames length of grass on Elland Road pitch