Cellino’s Italian job underway at Leeds as two signings confirmed


New Leeds owner Massimo Cellino is pushing ahead with his player recruitment rally, after snapping up compatriot Tommaso Bianchi, and Frenchman Souleymane Doukara from Serie A sides Sassualo and Catania respectively.

The former is an attacking midfielder, who can occupy berths on either wing or behind the striker. Crucially for the Whites; he scores goals. Having spent last season out on loan at Serie B outfit Modena, Cellino has moved swiftly to secure 25-year-old Bianchi.

New head coach David Hockaday was understandably pleased with the signing, saying: “He can play on the left, right or in the number 10 position and he can score goals.”

Leeds, 40/1 shots to win the Championship next campaign, and 10/1 to be promoted, are pressing ahead with their plans to tie up new signings, and striker Doukara also has a lot of promise. The 22-year-old has been brought in as a partial replacement for Ross McCormack, who joined Fulham for £11m earlier in the summer. Having spent last campaign out on loan at Serie B club Juve Stabia, where he scored six goals, he will benefit from more and arguably better service at the Championship club.

Hockaday is pleased with the business Leeds have done so far and has spoken about Doukara in glowing terms: “He is a big, powerful and fast player with a hunger to succeed. He is exactly what we need at the club.”

Bianchi and Doukara join goalkeepers Marco Silvestri and Stuart Taylor at Elland Road, with Leeds turning down the opportunity to sign Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini from Sassualo, after he failed to impress on trial.

Cellino is also rumoured to be interested in AC Milan’s 19-year-old striker Andrea Petagna, after his agent confirmed the Yorkshire club had enquired about his availability. Having spent part of last term out on loan at Sampdoria, AC Milan are keen on a similar deal next season.

Petagna’s agent Giusseppe Riso has told media: “Andrea will leave AC Milan on loan to gain experience. There are a few Serie B’s teams interested in him, like Crotone, Latina and Perugia while in Serie A Cesena like him.

“But it is not said that Petagna remains in Italy. I know that Cellino’s Leeds like him too, we’ll see what AC Milan decide to do.”

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