The Summers Ins and Outs
07 Aug 2014 12:09pm, by YorkshireSquare
From the very start it was Massimo Cellino wanted to clear out the ‘dead wood’ at the club in terms of both non-playing and playing staff. The first casualties were those players who were out of contract in the summer. Jamie Ashdown, Michael Brown, El Hadji Diouf, Adam Drury, Paul Green and Danny Pugh were all released following the end of their contracts. Luke Varney signed a one year deal with Blackburn, where he had been on loan towards the end of last year following the end of his contract with Leeds.
Cameron Stewart having been set to make his loan switch permanent saw the deal cancelled by Massimo Cellino. Youngsters Simon Lenighan, Nathan Turner, Lewis Turner and Gboly Ariyibi also failed to secure new contracts with the club. Lee Peltier ‘s contract was cancelled by mutual consent allowing him to re-sign for Huddersfield Town. Having been left out of the pre-season camp Marius Žaliūkas saw his contract cancelled, he has headed back north over the border to sign for Glasgow Rangers.
The big out for the summer was obviously last year’s Championship top scorer Ross McCormack to Fulham. Leeds are rumoured to receive just over £9 million in the deal after paying sell-on fees to Cardiff. The most recent departure was former academy graduate Tom Lees to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed fee. Lees played 123 times for Leeds United but after early promise his error strewn performances have made him a scapegoat amongst Leeds fans (and managers).
On to the summers ins. With last year’s goalkeeper Paddy Kenny not given a squad number for the coming season, despite having a year left on his contract, getting in new keepers seemed to be the priority for Massimo Cellino. First in was experienced Stuart Taylor, who has only played 90 games despite a fifteen year career featuring spells at Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester City and most recently Reading. First choice keeper for the new season is 23 year old Italian Marco Silvestri who signed a four year deal from Serie A side Chievo. Silvestri is a former Italy Under-21 international and is said to be destined for great things, though early reviews from pre-season are mixed.
Signing of the summer, as far as the pre-season games have gone, has been 25 year old Italian midfielder Tommaso Bianchi from Serie A side Sassualo. He is a versatile player who is composed on the ball and can get forward and score goals. Pre-season performances suggest there is a lot to come from Bianchi this season. Switzerland full back Gaetano Berardi also put pen to paper for a two year deal from Sampdoria. With the departure of Peltier and possibility of Byram playing further up the pitch he provides cover in both full back positions. French striker Souleymane Doukara has also joined Leeds on a one year loan from Serie B side Catania and impressed in the final pre-season game against Dundee United.
Eighteen year old Slovenian midfield playmaker Zan Benedicic has signed on loan from AC Milan with an option to make the deal permanent next summer. He had returned early from AC Milan’s pre-season tour of America early to discuss the move and comes highly rated by Milan. Following the departure of Tom Lees, Leeds had hoped to snap up Denmark under-21 international defender Frederik Sorensen from Juventus. As with many of the other deals it was supposed to be a season long loan with the fees involves rumoured to be in the region of £500,000 up front and an option to make the move permanent next summer for £3.5m. Issues surrounding fees and wages ultimately lead to the deal not going through.
Ex Manchester United youth player Nicky Ajose put pen to paper on a 3 year deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £150,000. The 22 year old striker joins from Peterborough after loan spells at Scunthorpe, Chesterfield, Crawley, Bury and scored 6 goals in 12 starts at Swindon last year. Leeds fans had been hopeful of singing French striker Andy Delort from Tours but it looks now as though last year’s Ligue 2 joint top scorer is set to sign for Charlton or Leicester.
The club had also been interested in signing a couple of other players but failed to complete deals. Leeds had a second bid, rumoured to be £475,000, rejected for Chesterfield defender Liam Cooper. With Chesterfield valuing the 22 year old at closer to £1 million mark Leeds united discontinued their interest. There was also the will he won’t he saga of Roma midfielder Federico Viviani. With the season long loan move having been on and off it was announced that terms had been agreed and all that remained was for Leeds to sign the paperwork. The situation reversed once again though as Cellino announced the deal was 100% off and Vivani has since signed for Latina.
The following young professionals have also been given new details until 2015; Alex Cairns, Ross Killock, Dan Atkinson, Luke Booker, Lewie Coyle, Tyler Denton, Jake Skelton, Kalvin Phillips and Alex Purver. In addition Charlie Taylor was handed a new contract until 2017.
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