The Curious Case Of Luciano Becchio
Luciano Becchio moved to Norwich City in January 2013 in a deal that saw Steve Morison head to Elland Road along with around £200k.
Becchio had played 190 times for Leeds United and scored 75 goals, I for one thought that we were getting a goal scorer. To lose Steve Morison as part of the deal wasn't such a bad thing either as he had dropped down the pecking order, having been usurped by Grant Holt as City's main man up front.
But having made his home debut as a lone striker in a 0-0 draw with Fulham, in which his only chance was fired straight at Mark Schwarzer from close range and easily saved, I think I'm right in saying that Becchio didn't start another league game. He had already scored 19 goals for Leeds at the time of the move to City in that first half of the season.
Kei Kamara arrived on loan and took the role of lone striker from Holt occasionally while Becchio watched from the sidelines and he watched and watched.
Apart from the odd late substitute appearance, Luciano was a bystander with only a watching brief. In total he has made 13 first team appearances for Norwich and never managed to score.
So why not? What went wrong?
Chris Hughton bought him and then decided not to play him. Strange. I can only assume that Becchio didn't perform on the training field and was content to pick up his not inconsiderable wage packet.
I seem to remember at the time of his departure from Elland Road that then Leeds manager, Neil Warnock was quoted as saying that Becchio was basically chasing a big money move with around £20k a week on offer at City - Leeds clearly couldn't compete with that and Becchio forced a move, demanding a transfer.
Whenever I have seen him play, which clearly isn't a lot, he has always looked like a bit of a lumberer. He linked up well with Johnny Howson once when he played a pass that saw Howson score spectacularly in a 4-0 demolition of West Brom in May 2013.
But other than that? He's never convinced me that he was the answer to our scoring problems. He was the nail in the coffin when Hughton opted to throw him on ahead of Ricky van Wolfswinkel as City lost 0-1 to West Brom last season. A defeat that saw Hughton lose his job as clap banners bounced off his head.
He clearly hasn't ever been given the chance to show what he can do and that has been said by plenty of supporters over the last 18 months or so. Perhaps he didn't deserve the chance by his behaviour off the field? It does seem odd that Neil Adams hasn't been bothered to play him either.
There are of course rumours, one of which puts Becchio siding with Seb Bassong in the fabled training ground spat with Adams at the tail end of last season - but Becchio was never Hughton's man in the same way that Bassong was, so why stand beside him if he wanted a fresh start.
A check of his twitter account over the last few months has shown more of an interest in promoting a restaurant/bar than playing football. Although he did also post a picture of himself during his Leeds United days with the title 'always will be in my heart.' That was posted on 1/8/14 - perhaps he thought he was in with a shout of a return, who knows?
And now he finds himself on loan at Rotherham United until 1st January 2015.
Rotherham manager, Steve Evans is finding goals hard to come by and thinks he's secured the services of a goal scorer.
"This is a lad who at Championship level has a CV that says simply 'I score goals`," Evans told his club`s official site. "Luciano is a talented boy who will again complement the playing squad we have assembled at New York Stadium. There was a lot of fans at other clubs probably thinking that he was heading to their club and right up to around seven o`clock there was interest from clubs elsewhere including some very near us in the Championship.
"We didn`t have to do a lot of convincing him, we just talked as a staff about the games we`d watched him play for Leeds, for Norwich and even ones we`ve seen him play in the development squad or reserves at Norwich. We spoke about where we would see him in our squad and how he needed to get back that feeling of scoring goals and how he`d be joining a good squad with plenty of competition amongst the strikers. He was then keen to come here. It is a further sign of the progress Rotherham United has made in the last two years."
Where did it all go wrong? Is it as simple as he just wasn't given a fair crack of the whip? Personally, I don't think so. The story may never come out as to what it was all about and why he hardly ever played when we couldn't hit a cow's backside with a banjo, let alone the goal, so I guess we'll have to wait for his autobiography for his side or maybe cautious Chris will write one first.
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