Former Leeds United target Leonardo Pavoletti joins Napoli in £15m deal

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino came close to signing Leonardo Pavoletti in 2014
Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino came close to signing Leonardo Pavoletti in 2014
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Italian striker Leonardo Pavoletti has joined Napoli in a £15m deal - two years after being on the verge of signing for Leeds United.

Pavoletti, who was twice targeted by Massimo Cellino during the 2014-15 season, agreed a move to Napoli from Genoa earlier today, taking him to the top end of Serie A.

The 28-year-old came onto Leeds’ radar soon after Cellino completed his takeover of the club in April 2014, at a time when Pavoletti was playing for Italian Serie B side Sassuolo.

A proposed move in August of that year fell through minutes before the transfer deadline day - the deal behind Leeds’ infamous ‘don’t got to bed just yet’ tweet on their official Twitter account - but the deal was briefly resurrected midway through the term.

Pavoletti travelled to England around Christmas and attended Elland Road for Leeds’ 2-0 loss to Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day 2014. He rejected the offer of a loan to United, however, and joined Genoa on a temporary basis with a view to a permanent deal.

Writing on his Instagram account today, Pavoletti said: “I say ‘ciao’ to Genoa after two intense, happy years filled with emotion, enthusiasm and a lot of hard work.

“I remember how it started. January 2015, I was at home in Leghorn. Suddenly I received a call: ‘tomorrow come to Milan and sign for Genoa.’ I didn’t sleep that night with the emotion.”

Two years on, Leeds are again in the market for a new striker with the January transfer window open.

The club are monitoring West Ham United’s Ashley Fletcher with a view with signing him on loan but head coach Garry Monk said on Monday that new arrivals this month would stop at “one or two” with his current squad in impressive form.

Monk also promised to retain every member of his first-team squad but the club are ready to listen to offers for goalkeeper Ross Turnbull and midfielders Luke Murphy and Toumani Diagouraga.

All three players are surplus to Monk’s plans and have been training with United’s development squad for most of this season.

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