Where are they now? The 18 Leeds signings in Cellino’s first full season
Leeds United have a tendency to sometimes fly off the handle and go batsh*t mental – but they really took the biscuit during the Massimo Cellino era.
Cellino took over in 2014 and spent three years at the helm of the club, churning through seven managers and dozens of players.
There were few more unpredictable times than his first full season at the club, in which he hired Dave Hockaday and signed a number of unknown quantities – who we’ve revisited here.
Taylor made more appearances for Leeds – five – than in 13 of his other seasons as a professional footballer, featuring three times in the Championship at the end of the season after Marco Silvestri’s mysterious ‘injury’.
After leaving Elland Road after just one campaign, the goalkeeper stepped back up the Premier League with Southampton, though he failed to play a single match and is now without a club at the age of 38.
The man to whom Taylor served as back-up, Silvestri impressed Leeds supporters with his shot-stopping ability but soon lost favour due to a number of sloppy injuries before becoming one of the ‘Sicknote Six’ who suddenly pulled out of an end-of-season fixture at Charlton citing injuries – in his case, a scratch on his back.
Silvestri spent a further season at the club having been relegated to No.2 behind Rob Green then returned to Italy with Hellas Verona. The Italy youth international barely featured as they finished second bottom of Serie A but has cemented himself as first-choice in the second tier.
There were suspicions among Leeds supporters that Tommy White was consistently being picked by various managers while contributing little due to the influence of Cellino, especially with said managers also persevering with a diamond formation which regularly proved ineffective.
Fans, managers and the player himself were put out of their misery midway through the campaign when the midfielder suffered a serious knee injury and was ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
Bianchi promptly returned to Serie B the following January, spending two years at Ascoli – where he was sent off 25 minutes into his debut – before joining third tier outfit Novara in the 2018 summer transfer window.
Saddened to hear of the passing of Tommaso Bianchi. Don't worry, he's not dead. I mean his passing was literally disgraceful. #lufc
— Tommy (@tommy_lufc) December 30, 2014
One of just two players on this list who remain at the club today, Berardi overcame two red cards in his first four appearances to become a cult hero among Leeds fans. Actually, scratch that, his penchant for psychotic episodes of violence are part of the reason he is so loved on the terraces.
While the one-time Switzerland international is the first to admit he lacks the natural talent required to thrive at the highest level of the game, he more than makes up for that with his commitment and passion.
It is no coincidence that during each of his seasons at Elland Road he has forced his way into the starting XI somewhere across the backline ahead of more fancied names.
Highlight of that winning goal?
The red button camera pulling to the tunnel, where it looks like some violent crazed fan has got out of the stand and is fighting all the #LUFC players next to the bench
…aaaaaand it’s just Berardi celebrating 😂
— MoscowhiteTSB (@MoscowhiteTSB) December 26, 2018
Having been transfer listed by League One Peterborough, Leeds decided to ‘swoop’ for Ajose, signing the forward on a three-year deal in August 2014.
Come November 2014, he was being sent out on loan and was never seen in Leeds’ first team again.
At the time of writing, Ajose is on loan from Charlton Athletic at League Two Mansfield Town.
The fat lad from Sheffield had been linked with a move to Leeds on numerous occasions before finally joining that summer.
A late winner on his debut in Middlesbrough and another victory-stealing goal at Huddersfield were the main highlights of his season at Elland Road, but Sharp never quite established himself during such a turbulent time – which could hardly be considered his own fault.
The striker went on to rejoin Sheffield United and has gone on to score a quite frankly silly number of goals – including two against Leeds last season, naturally.
Billy Sharp has now scored the most senior English goals in the top 4 leagues since 2000!
Billy Sharp 220 goals
Rickie Lambert 219 goals
Wayne Rooney 208 goals
Jamie Cureton 199 goals
Jermain Defoe 191 goals
Jordan Rhodes 185 goals
Glenn Murray 183 goals
Sharp shooter!! pic.twitter.com/5IxY5288zt
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) January 1, 2019
The only other player after Berardi on this list to still be at the club, Cooper has been a polarising figure at Leeds but has spent the last two seasons as club captain.
Of the signings that summer, Antenucci was one of the more popular and successful, only to become tarnished by the ‘Sicknote Six’ episode and a bizarre contract stipulation which meant Neil Redfearn was forced to drop the striker before he activated a contract extension for the embarrassingly low goal target of 11.
The Italian ultimately spent one more season at Leeds before joining SPAL, firing the club to a first promotion to Serie A for 49 years in his debut campaign and helping them avoid relegation by scoring 11 times in the top flight.
Seen as the manifestation on the pitch of everything that was going wrong off it, Bellusci was a vastly unpopular figure among Leeds supporters due to poor performances and an even worse attitude.
The defender once resorted to tweeting a spreadsheet of stats which were supposed to show the side was better when he started, but it was probably for the best he was sent out on loan to Empoli before joining Palermo on a permanent deal, briefly returning in between to argue with fans at a pre-season friendly.
Spreadsheet incoming. https://t.co/NQNlwvjNBY
— Michael Normanton (@Michael_TSB) January 30, 2019
A midfielder who arrived at Leeds with a decent pedigree but only featured to any degree of regularity during the short-lived tenures of Hockaday and Darko Milanic, although that didn’t stop him hanging around for two years.
Sloth left Leeds to return to Denmark with Aalborg, moving on to Silkeborg after just one season, and was most recently spotted on trial at Columbus Crew. Sadly, former Whites striker Mike Grella recently left the MLS outfit.
Doukara is best remembered at Leeds for almost breaking the net with a Tony Yeboah-esque volley against Nottingham Forest and receiving an eight-match ban for biting Fulham’s Fernando Amorebieta, which sums up his time at Elland Road quite well.
Another proud member of the ‘Sicknote Six’, Doukara remained at Leeds longer than many others on this list, leaving in the summer of 2017 for Turkey, where he has spent a season with Osmanlispor before joining Antalyaspor.
Benedicic joined Leeds on loan as a highly-rated, exciting prospect from AC Milan, played twice, picked up a season-ending injury and seemed to spend a lot of time with Cellino’s daughter.
Now 23, the Slovenian never actually appeared for Milan but did have spells at three separate clubs in Italy’s lower divisions, as well as a few months at Leyton Orient.
in February 2018 he returned to his home country to join NK Celje. Still, he at least continued a proud Leeds United tradition.
Zan Benedicic becomes the second player Leeds United have loaned from AC Milan in our history. The first was Roque Junior #lufc
— Amitai Winehouse (@awinehouse1) August 4, 2014
A FIFA/Football Manager god, a bizarre transfer, a handful of moments of class and a ridiculous dive. Adryan’s Leeds career was quite the rollercoaster.
Still only 24, the Brazil youth international has played for Swiss outfit FC Sion since 2017.
Dario del Fabro
A very cool Italian name, a very forgettable loan spell at Leeds in which he featured just once in an FA Cup tie. In truth, Del Fabro probably didn’t need to join the ‘Sicknote Six’ as it was unlikely the defender would have played anyway.
Remarkably, Del Fabro actually earned a move to Juventus a couple of years after leaving Leeds. He’s never actually appeared for the Turin giants, of course, and has instead been sent out on loan to Serie B a couple of times.
Also renowned for being entirely anonymous at West Ham, Montenegro played a grand total of 21 minutes of league football for Leeds, spread across five substitute appearances.
The striker went on to score an impressive 15 goals in 17 appearances back at Nacional Asuncion in Paraguay but now finds himself struggling for game time on loan at Talleres in Argentina’s top flight.
One of the best footballers to be simultaneously brilliant and terrible, Bamba was good fun at Leeds but was allowed to leave on a free transfer by Garry Monk as it was deemed the best solution for all parties.
Few people expected the 34-year-old to now be a Premier League regular.
Turned out signing a player without them undergoing a medical wasn’t a good idea as Ngoyi aggravated an injury in one of his first training sessions and was only seen once in a Leeds shirt – in a defeat, obviously.
It hasn’t gone well for the midfielder since: while he won promotion to Ligue 1 with Dijon on loan the following season after leaving Leeds, he spent two years without a club before joining Sénart-Moissy, who were relegated to the sixth tier of French football last term.
The final member of the ‘Sicknote Six’ to appear on this list, Cani, a striker, remains searching for just the second campaign in which he reaches double figures for goals.
Since his loan move to Leeds ended, a season back in his native Albania has been sandwiched between a career spent in the lower reaches of Italian football.