Leeds United: Whites target Denmark midfielder

Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

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Leeds United are tracking Denmark international Casper Sloth amid a late push to bring new midfielders to Elland Road.

The YEP understands that the Aarhus youngster is one of a number of targets on United’s radar ahead of the closure of the transfer window a week on Monday.

Sloth, 22, is a central midfielder and an established member of the first team at Aarhus, a club he made his debut for at the age of 17. His contract has entered its final year and expires next summer.

He was capped repeatedly at various youth levels by Denmark and made his first senior international appearance at the end of 2012 amid much expectation about his potential.

Leeds are looking to strike a deal to bring him to Elland Road before the end of the month, strengthening an area of their team which was badly exposed in the first half of Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton.

United have already made 11 signings this summer but are still to make serious alterations to their midfield, and the club’s interest in Sloth comes as talks about another potential recruit – 20-year-old Brazilian Adryan – continue in the background.

Leeds owner Massimo Cellino is attempting to sign Adryan for the second time having taken him on loan from Flamengo while he was in charge of Italian side Cagliari last season.

Adryan’s loan at Cagliari is due to run for 18 months but United have been exploring the possibility of an agreement which sees Flamengo recall him early and then send him onto Elland Road.

Discussions have been active for more than a week but they look likely to run beyond Saturday’s clash at Watford and into the final days of the FIFA transfer window.

Head coach David Hockaday is anticipating further arrivals, saying: “We’ve got numbers here but when you look at actual strength and depth in terms of the Championship, we need more quality. If you look at the bench of the teams we’ve played and the seasoned Championship players they’ve got, I still feel we’re lacking.

“Ideally you’re looking for a squad of 20 to 22 senior players – combative, competitive players. I don’t think we’ve got that yet, and I know we haven’t got that yet. Not the ones we want.”

Striker Mirco Antenucci became Leeds’ latest new signing last night, joining from Ternana for an undisclosed fee.

The 30-year-old has accepted a two-year deal and is waiting for international clearance to give him the chance of a debut at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Antenucci captained Ternana last season and scored 19 times, keeping the club clear of relegation, and his move came a day after Leeds confirmed that Souleymane Doukara would be absent for a month with ruptured ankle ligaments.

“He’s a very good goalscorer, very powerful and explosive with good link-up play,” Hockaday said.

“He had a great goalscoring record last season and he’s somebody we’ve been trying to get to the club for a long time. It’s great news.

“It’s most opportune that he’s come at this time because obviously Souley is going to be missing for four weeks. The timing couldn’t be better.

Giuseppe Bellusci, the Italian centre-back who joined Leeds from Catania last week, is still waiting for his first appearance after an unexpected delay in securing international clearance from Italy.

The necessary paperwork took seven days to arrive – a wait blamed on an Italian bank holiday last Friday – but Leeds are confident that Antenucci will be involved at Watford.

“I’m hoping that he’ll be registered and he’ll be in the frame to play,” Hockaday said.