Leeds United: Cellino planning patient promising progress at Elland Road
Since he took over at Elland Road, Massimo Cellino’s reign has been anything but smooth, after Uwe Rosler became the fourth manager to be hired as Leeds United boss, since the Italian entrepreneur assumed control.
At 16/1 with Coral to be promoted from the Championship this season, the club are considered as outsiders, despite a relatively positive start to the new campaign which sees them perched just outside a play-off spot.
However, this is not the aim of the chairman for this season, which is a somewhat refreshing approach to running a football club. While the general consensus in football is that clubs should strive for success every campaign, some are simply not ready to sustain a challenge at a higher level.
Time and again, clubs have been promoted to the Premier League, only to be relegated a season later due to a number of variables, mainly because they did not have a strong enough squad to compete at England’s elite level. Cellino considers Leeds in the same bracket.
Although the club have lost just once in the league this season, this is a step in the right direction, with Rosler having started to build a side that is hard to beat, going back to basics and laying foundations for success from he ground up.
In this particular instance, the manager has concentrated on re-organising the defence; a move which has seen them concede less goals than previous seasons.
With this in mind, Rosler can then look to establish a solid platform to build on, and with the amount of youngsters coming through at the club, there are promising signs for growth.
It is a strategy which has seen Cellino formulate a plan to build for a promotion campaign next season. Having invested wisely in the squad during the summer to bring in a nucleus of players, capable of contributing to promotion, there will be the opportunity for him to take a look next year and assess where else the club may need to add.
“I’d like to grow something, throughout next season to go to Premier League. This year, if we get close I will take this [sic],” Cellino said. “But we still must build and grow. [The team is] not ready yet.”
Having brought in striker Chirs Wood from Leicester City for £3m, the 23-year-old is seen as a long-term investment and will score goals in abundance when he becomes even more settled in the team. Keeping hold of Sam Byram, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Charlie Taylor is seen as key to the Yorkshire club’s vision to maintain traditional values of bringing through homegrown players.
In recent years, Southampton and Stoke City have enjoyed Premier League consolidation, with the former following an exciting model, concentrating on youth development, aided by a top-of-the range scouting system to identify quality players. The future for Leeds looks bright once more it seems.