New Leeds owner Massimo Cellino is staging a bit of an Italian revolution at Elland Road. The Whites’ summer transfer policy, thus far, has largely consisted of acquiring players from Serie A and Serie B, including Souleymane Doukara, Tommaso Bianchi and Marco Sylvestri, with the exception of former Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor.
And the Leeds head honcho clearly has little plans to stop there, having also issued a trial to Sassuolo Jonathan Rossini before eventually sending the Swiss international on the first flight back to Italy – apparently there were some questions over his attitude.
So with that in mind, we at Football FanCast have conjured this list of FIVE signings that would complete ‘the Italian Job’ at Elland Road, which we all think, as Michael Caine would put it, is a great idea.
Over the last few days, rumours have circulated that Leeds are planning a loan move for AC Milan youngster Andrea Petagna.
[Daily Express] Agent links Leeds United to AC Milan youngster Andrea Petagna http://t.co/3p9F9IaBHs
— Indö GGMU (@andrewDB_) July 13, 2014
The 19 year-old striker has managed just ten appearances throughout his competitive club career and is yet to get on the scoresheet, but comes highly-rated in Italy with 18 outings for the Azzurri juniors.
Petagna is a tidy footballer with a powerful 6 foot 2 frame. Here’s some of his best bits for Rossoneri and Sampordia, whom he joined on loan briefly last season:
He also netted past Joe Hart as AC Milan took on Manchester City in a pre-season friendly last summer:
However, Serie B sides Crotone, Latina and Perugia are also believed to be baying for Petagna’s temporary signature.
Bit quiet on the transfer front today but Leeds are still working on Gaetano Berardi deal. Should be signing number five. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) July 15, 2014
The 25 year-old full-back comes with a strong reputation from his five year spell at Brescia and current club Sampordia, but since the appointment of new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic in November, has gone on to make just five appearances in Serie A.
Berardi is famed for his reading of the game but also boasts quality in possession, as detailed below:
It’s believed a deal could be imminent, but there is allegedly a dispute over potential transfer fees according to Adam Pope of BBC Leeds:
#lufc Cellino mentioned that a deal may be done for Swiss international defender Gaetano Berardi but the fee is being haggled over.
— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) July 11, 2014
According to the Daily Mail, the Elland Road outfit are also targeting former Italy U21 defender Giuseppe Bellusci:
Leeds target Catania centre back Giuseppe Bellusci and Reading ‘keeper Stuart Taylor http://t.co/euT23xMgYH
— Deck Sports News (@DeckSports) July 1, 2014
The 24 year-old was part of a Catania outfit that picked up a club-record 56 points during the 2012/13 season, but despite producing decent form last term, as detailed below, failed to prevent The Elephants plummeting into Serie B.
Manchester United youngster Davide Petrucci hasn’t been linked with Leeds United switch, but being one of the few Italian nations to feature in the Championship last term, it seems logical to suggest he could soon find his way to Elland Road.
The 22 year-old midfielder joined Charlton Athletic on loan at the end of last season, and despite only making five substitute appearances finished up with the fifth-best passing return in the Addicks’ squad, as detailed below:
Petrucci is initially a product of Roma’s academy and is famed for his technical ability. This goal during a four-game loan stint at Peterborough, back in January 2013, being a classic example:
The former Italy U19 seems unlikely to make the first team at Old Trafford any time soon – despite being highly rated, recurring injuries have continually stalled his progress – and thus could be interested in securing regular football with Leeds.
In case you want to see more, some nutbag has made this twelve-minute video of Petrucci’s performance against Leicester City’s reserves back in February:
Another Italian well acquainted with the English second tier is Watford’s Gabriele Angella.
The 25 year-old has excelled in the Championship since moving to Vicarage Road from Udinese last summer, as detailed below:
Indeed, that bizarre knack of scoring has been a trademark of Angella’s career, also boasting a return of four goals in 20 appearances from his time with Zebrette in Serie A. This curled effort in training isn’t too bad either…
Measuring in at 6 foot 4 and having more than proved his worth in the Championship last term, the former Italy U21 would certainly be a significant boost to Leeds’ defence.
But having only joined the Hornets last summer in a five-year deal, it will likely take a huge offer to convince Giampaolo Pozzo’s side to sell. Transfermarkt.com rate him at a whopping £1.7million.