LEEDS UNITED have today parted company with Giuseppe Bellusci after terminating the defender’s contract.
Bellusci accepted a deal to sever a contract which had 12 months left on it and has become a free agent after a difficult three-year spell with United.
The centre-back was told last week that he had no future with Leeds after he became embroiled with a spat with some of the club’s fans during a pre-season friendly at Guiseley.
In a statement Leeds said: “Leeds United can confirm that Giuseppe Bellusci’s contract has been terminated by mutual consent.
“We wish Giuseppe well for his future.”
United were initially expected to allow Bellusci to continue training with them while they awaited a suitable offer for his services but the club moved to release him having failed to find a way out for the controversial 27-year-old.
Bologna, Cagliari and Benevento all showed an early interest in Bellusci following the end of his recent season-long loan at Empoli but Greek side PAOK lead the running to sign him with Bellusci now available on a free transfer.
The Italian was one of the earliest signings made under former Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, joining United from Catania on a four-year deal in August 2014.
He played 61 times for the club but courted controversy during his career at Elland Road. Bellusci - seen by some as a disruptive influence in the dressing room - was one of six players who were accused of feigning injury ahead of a trip to Charlton Athletic in April 2015, a spate of withdrawals which was viewed as an attempt to undermine then head coach Neil Redfearn.
His last appearance came against Reading in April 2016. Steve Evans, United’s first-team boss at the time, subsequently dropped him for disciplinary reasons and Bellusci was sent on loan to Empoli by Garry Monk before the start of last season.
Speaking on Wednesday, current head coach Thomas Christiansen revealed that Bellusci was “already out” and he omitted the Italian from his squad for United’s tour of Austria.
United, who have made eight signings in this transfer window, are in the market for new central defenders and understood to be edging close to one deal.