Leeds United playing waiting game over Watford’s Forestieri

Leeds boss Uwe Rosler barks out orders in Saturday's derby against Sheffield Wednesday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Leeds boss Uwe Rosler barks out orders in Saturday's derby against Sheffield Wednesday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
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UWE ROSLER has praised Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino for the financial support that this week could see the club make another big money acquisition.

The Elland Road club are understood to have agreed a £3m fee with Watford for striker Fernando Forestieri.

Cellino has taken personal control of negotiations with the Pozzo family, the Hornets’ owners, and it seems the decision over whether to rubber-stamp the transfer now lies solely with the 25-year-old Italian.

He was in the Watford squad yesterday to face Southampton and the suggestion in Hertfordshire is that he may opt to stay in the Premier League.

United do have an alternative plan should the Italian, who is believed to be also wanted by Sheffield Wednesday and Reading, opt not to move to West Yorkshire.

Belgian winger Anthony Limbombe has been on Leeds’s radar for several weeks and was left out of NEC Nijmegen’s league game with Ajax over the weekend.

A statement from the Dutch club confirmed Limbombe’s absence was down to interest from Leeds, a spokesman adding: “Therefore, he has no place in the squad.”

Under the Elland Road set-up, Rosler, as head coach, leaves transfer negotiations to Cellino so was unable to reveal in the wake of the 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday whether United were on the verge of completing an eighth transfer of the summer.

However, the East German added: “I can’t tell you what is agreed with Watford, but I can tell you Mr Cellino had used his personal money to buy off the debt and from this summer on this club can move on.

“Mr Cellino wants to do very well for this football club. He wants to back me and support me, and wants to bring in the right player at the right price at the right age.

“So far, the signings we made have shown that. Stuart Dallas, Chris Wood, Lee Erwin, they’re all in the same bracket. Forestieri is 25.”

If Forestieri – who was at QPR on Saturday watching close friend Alejandro Faurlin in a 4-2 win over Rotherham United –does move to Elland Road, the club’s summer recruitment will have been at its most ambitious level since 2005 when Richard Cresswell, Rob Hulse and Robbie Blake all arrived.

Around £4m has already been spent on Chris Wood and Stuart Dallas, and the duo combined on Saturday to rescue a point for Leeds after Wednesday had gone ahead through a spectacular first-half strike from Marco Matias.

A draw was, according to Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal, a fair result in front of a 22,597 derby crowd.

“I felt the draw was correct,” said the Portuguese, who revealed afterwards that Lewis McGugan had missed the trip to West Yorkshire due to the birth of his child.

“It was a typical derby. The teams fought a lot, we didn’t have too many chances and Leeds didn’t have too many chances. It is a correct score.”

On a start to the season that has yielded five points from four games, Carvalhal added: “We are step by step.

“We are doing well at this moment. Not fantastic but well. We will do better. It is why, at this moment, I am not enthusiastic or crazily happy. I am average, I am feeling the same as most coaches in the Championship.

“It is not how we start but how we finish. I believe we can do better in the future.”

For Rosler, the wait for a first win under his stewardship may have been extended.

But, after draining trips to Reading and Bristol City during the previous week, the Leeds head coach praised his side’s character.

He said: “I am delighted with my players. In the second week of the season and you play four games in nine days – three of them away from home – coming back from 1-0 against a team that didn’t really attack us in any shape or form shows good character.

“We have to applaud their player (Matias) for the goal, it was a fantastic individual effort.

“Was it the best goal I have ever seen? No, I scored one or two myself! But that goal was magnificent, you have to applaud the player for that effort.

“It was, though, a big blow and I was thinking, ‘Where do we go from here?’ And yet we still came back and pushed them for the win.

“The character of the team will obviously be tested throughout the whole season. But what I have seen so far reminds me of my team at Brentford (he was manager from 2011-13), they had a huge strength of character.”

Match report and 
analysis: Page 3.