Leeds United: Bellusci in late pre-season return due to 'family reasons'

Leeds United defender Giuseppe Bellusci
Leeds United defender Giuseppe Bellusci

Giuseppe Bellusci will make a late return to pre-season training at Leeds United after missing yesterday’s first session under Garry Monk at Thorp Arch.

The Italian centre-back was one of a handful of players who were absent as head coach Monk recalled United’s squad for the start of their preparation for the new Championship season.

Bellusci is currently in Italy and is understood to have been given permission by the club to deal with family issues.

Leeds expect the centre-back to return to England shortly, despite rumours throughout the summer linking him with a move back to his homeland.

Bellusci - a controversial figure during his two years at Elland Road - was rumoured to be the subject of a £5m bid from Verona in January and Serie A side Empoli are one of the clubs being credited with an interest in him. He is contracted to United until 2018.

Leeds intend to make changes in the centre of defence before next season and the club are in the process of negotiating a deal to bring Swansea City’s Kyle Bartley to Elland Road on a season-long loan.

Bellusci is one of three existing central defenders at Leeds, alongside captain Sol Bamba and vice captain Liam Cooper, and the 26-year-old made 31 appearances last season.

Stuart Dallas and Tommaso Bianchi were two of the other absentees yesterday, with Bianchi set for a move to Ascoli and Dallas recuperating after his appearances for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.