Leeds United: Juventus star wanted at Elland Road

Sheffield United's Jamie Murphy

Sheffield United's Jamie Murphy

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ITALIAN international Simone Pepe is understood to be a target for Leeds United after being released by Juventus.

But the 31-year-old winger will also attract the attention of several top Serie A sides after collecting four league title winners’ medals with the ‘Old Lady.’

Pepe started out at home-town club Roma but never played in the first team. He has shone in Serie A for 10 seasons, mainly for Udinese and Juventus, scoring 29 goals in 219 games despite being hindered by injuries in recent seasons.

He has been linked with the Elland Road club since April, after Leeds owner Massimo Cellino said he was interested in bringing a series of Italian-based players to the club.

Ahead of his release Pepe, who appeared for Italy at the 2010 World Cup, said: “I have spent five fantastic years in amazing company at Juventus. I have given my heart and soul. Juventus have understood me and will keep an incredible feeling forever.”

Pepe joined Udinese midway through the 2005–06 campaign in a co-ownership deal, for €500,000, along with Salvatore Masiello and Nicola Santoni as part of the David Di Michele deal for €5.35m.

Juventus signed Pepe on loan for €2.6m in June, 2010, with the option to sign him permanently for €7.5m in July.

He scored five times in 30 matches in his first season in Turin.

If Leeds are unable to attract Pepe to England then a player closer to home could be on their radar.

With United striker Billy Sharp being linked with a return to Sheffield United, Leeds are likely to insist that Scotland Under-21 winger Jamie Murphy is part of any package.

Murphy has scored 17 goals in 94 appearances since joining the Blades from Motherwell in 2013 and signed a new contract in January, keeping him at Bramall lane until the summer of 2017.

Sheffield-born Sharp has scored just five goals in 33 appearances for Leeds since signing a two-year deal from Southampton in August, 2014.

The 29-year-old began his career with the Blades and returned from Scunthorpe in 2007, scoring eight goals in 51 games before netting 40 in 82 appearaqnces for Doncaster Rovers ahead of a £1.8m move to Southampton in January, 2012.

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