Leeds United stepping up recruitment

Nicky Ajose

Nicky Ajose

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Leeds United were on the verge of making Frederik Sorensen their eighth summer signing last night, hours after adding former Manchester United trainee Nicky Ajose to their squad.

Sorensen arrived at Elland Road for talks yesterday lunchtime as Leeds closed in on the highly-rated Juventus defender and a third new recruit in the space of as many days.

Forward Ajose sealed a transfer from Peterborough United as United were holding negotiations with Sorensen, 24 hours on from midfielder Zan Benedicic finalising his own move from AC Milan, and Sorensen’s loan is close to completion with Leeds in the final throes of preparation for the new Championship season.

The 22-year-old Dane is seen by Leeds and owner Massimo Cellino as a suitable partner for Jason Pearce, the most experienced centre-back at Elland Road and one of only two senior central defenders on United’s books.

Leeds have been looking for players in that position since the start of the summer and their search became more urgent last week after Tom Lees moved onto Sheffield Wednesday on the same day as a bid by Leeds for Chesterfield’s Liam Cooper came to nothing.

Sorensen – a Denmark Under-21 international – returned to Juventus at the end of last season following two years with Bologna but had little prospect of figuring heavily this term in a squad which includes several more experienced centre-backs, including Giorgio Chiellini.

The youngster, however, has numerous Serie A appearances to his name and will be in line for an immediate debut at the New Den against Millwall on Saturday – if Leeds put the finishing touches to his contract.

Ajose is already looking towards the clash in Bermondsey after ending a three-year stay at Peterborough.

The forward is understood to have been recommended by Leeds head coach David Hockaday and he cost United in the region of £150,000.

Hockaday said: “He’s very talented, a super professional and an ideal addition to our squad.”

Ajose’s presence increases the scramble for places up front and Dominic Poleon, Matt Smith and Noel Hunt were all used in a development squad game at Thorp Arch yesterday having featured as substitutes in Saturday’s friendly win over Dundee United.

A Chris Dawson strike and two late efforts from Kalvin Phillips gave the Under-21s a 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough.

Andrea Radrizzani with former owner Massimo Cellino. PIC: Simon Hulme

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