Neil Redfearn is confident that Leeds United will sign new players next month, with the club optimistic about their chances of securing a deal for Sassuolo striker Leonardo Pavoletti.
Redfearn said he and owner Massimo Cellino had held talks about their plans for the January window and discussed ways of working around the transfer embargo imposed on the club at the start of this week.
Leeds will be banned from paying transfer or loans fees next month – their punishment for breaking Financial Fair Play regulations – but loopholes in the Football League’s rules should allow them to sign players for a maximum of £600,000 a year in salary costs.
Pavoletti, 26, would fit into that bracket and is on United’s radar again after the club failed with an attempt to recruit him before the end of the summer window.
Leeds were in talks with Sassuolo – a club from whom they signed midfielder Tommaso Bianchi in July – on the night of September 1 but could not agree the terms of a move.
United sporting director Nicola Salerno said he was hopeful of reaching a deal with Sassuolo next month but admitted that the transfer would depend on the forward’s willingness to move to England.
Salerno told Italian media: “I’ve liked this player for years and he has been considered by Leeds already in the past.
“I get along well with him and the president (Cellino) and I have a good relationship with Sassuolo.
“We could close a deal without any problems. It depends on the guy because I don’t know what he wants to do.”
Pavoletti has spent most of his career in Italy’s Serie B but he scored his first top-flight goal in a game between Sassuolo and Palermo last weekend. Palermo are also said to be interested in the 6’2” forward.
An imposing striker is one of United’s priorities in January, along with an experienced central midfielder.
A total of three Championship clubs were hit with embargoes for breaching FFP rules – Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers, along with Leeds – but the restrictions do not prevent signings altogether.
Head coach Redfearn said: “We’ve still got the facility to bring some signings in.
“There’s an embargo but we’ve identified areas that we need to strengthen.
“I spoke to Massimo about the potential players we could get so we’re well aware of all that. It’s being dealt with.”