By Dominic Toner
Fernando Forestieri is set to line up against Leeds on Saturday as Sheffield Wednesday’s dangerman a year on from Massimo Cellino’s decision to pull the plug on a deal for him.
Leeds face their Yorkshire rivals in the Championship as Garry Monk continues his search for the club’s first win in the league.
Owner Cellino questioned Forestieri’s mentality last August after Leeds had pursued a deal for the forward, but decided not to push ahead with the signing.
“We decided on Tuesday that we would not be signing Forestieri, it was clear he didn’t have the right mentality needed to come to Leeds,” Cellino told the club’s website on 28 August 2015. “I want players to show a hunger and desire to come here – but he did not.
“It was not about the money. A player could cost £3million, £5m or be a free transfer, but if their mentality isn’t right then I will not sign them for Leeds. All our new signings showed that they really wanted to play for Leeds. Forestieri did not show that and we have moved on.”
Forestieri has been in the spotlight again this summer after refusing to play for Sheffield Wednesday against Norwich, and did not even travel with the squad to Carrow Road.
Championship duo Derby and Newcastle had both showed interest in Forestieri amid reports that a £7million bid had been submitted for the player.
The 26-year-old has since publicly apologised for his unprofessional behaviour and released a statement on the club’s website.
“Following the events of last weekend, I would now like to make my position 100 per cent clear to hopefully allow a line to be drawn beneath this situation.
“My heart is with Sheffield Wednesday and I now wish to put these events behind me, concentrate completely on my football and help this wonderful club move towards the success we all desire.”
After his apology Forestieri was named in the squad against Burton and played 45 minutes off the bench in the club’s 3-1 defeat.
Despite his problems off the pitch Forestieri has been a key player for Sheffield Wednesday since joining, having scored 16 goals and supplying eight assists during his 41 appearances.
Leeds travel to Hillsborough for their next league clash and also have a striker in their squad who has been struggling recently.
Chris Wood endured a difficult start to the season and was subsequently targeted for his performances by a large selection of fans, however the New Zealand international scored a stoppage time equaliser against Fulham to restore his confidence.
In other Leeds transfer news, a medical is underway as the club finalise the signing of a Euro 2016 player.