Leeds United’s players will resume training after a two-day break this afternoon amid persistent rumours that Nile Ranger is poised to begin a trial at Thorp Arch.
The controversial striker, who has prior links with United head coach David Hockaday, looks set to be given an unexpected opportunity by Leeds despite the chequered record which has hindered his professional career.
Ranger, 23, is without a club after a hamstring injury and disciplinary issues ended his year-long spell at Swindon Town in May.
Swindon signed the forward during the summer of 2013, several months after Ranger and Newcastle United agreed to sever his contract at St James’ Park.
Ranger’s senior career began at Newcastle but he was embroiled in controversy throughout his time on Tyneside, finally leaving the Premier League club after 62 appearances, most of them made as a substitute.
He and Hockaday – himself a former Swindon player – are believed to have crossed paths in 2007 when Ranger was an academy player at Southampton and Hockaday was part of the south-coast club’s youth-team coaching staff.
United are in the market for at least one more striker this summer after sanctioning the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham earlier this month.
Frenchman Souleymane Doukara joined the club on loan from Italian side Catania last week but the 22-year-old is not regarded as an out-an-out striker and was on United’s radar prior to the sale of McCormack.
Leeds showed an interest in Daniele Cacia, the 30-year-old Verona forward, earlier in the summer but have given up on him as a target.
The club, meanwhile, are waiting to complete their fifth signing of the summer after lined up a deal for Sampdoria right-back Gaetano Berardi.
Roma midfielder Federico Viviani, a 22-year-old who has played six times for Roma and moved on loan to Serie B club Latina last season, is the latest player to be linked with United.
Viviani has been capped by Italy at Under-21 level and made his Serie A debut at the age of 19.
His agent, Giovanni Ferro, told the YEP: “We are speaking with Leeds United but the player has a lot of interest from Italian Serie A clubs. We’ll take a decision in the near future.”
United’s new recruits – Doukara, Tommaso Bianchi and goalkeepers Marco Silvestri and Stuart Taylor – will take part in their first sessions at Thorp Arch tomorrow having linked up with United’s squad for their pre-season tour of Italy.
Leeds’ players returned from the continent on Monday afternoon and were given Tuesday and yesterday off.