Neil Redfearn called for transfers into Leeds United “sooner rather than later” after confirming his interest in signing the club’s former striker Luciano Becchio.
Leeds will travel to Saturday’s game at Bolton Wanderers minus any new players in their squad with owner Massimo Cellino due back in England tonight (Jan 9) and the completion of deals on hold until after the Italian returns from America.
Cellino has spent the past fortnight in Miami on business and he and Redfearn have been in regular contact throughout his time abroad but United’s head coach said the club’s transfer dealings would “take off when he gets back.”
Leeds, who employ sporting director Nicola Salerno to identify potential targets, have examined several options in the early stages of the January window, including Sassuolo striker Leonardo Pavoletti, Inter Milan midfielder Rene Krhin and Palermo defender Sol Bamba who played in the Championship with Leicester City.
Becchio – the Argentinian whose career in England was built at Elland Road between 2008 and 2013 – was recommended to Cellino by Redfearn and is likely to be available on a half-season loan from Norwich City.
Redfearn confirmed that he was looking to bring Becchio back to Elland Road but admitted he was waiting for progress on a number of fronts ahead of Cellino’s return from the USA.
“The president’s away and he’s not back until today,” said Redfearn, whose side are one point above the Championship’s relegation places ahead of tomorrow’s game at Bolton.
“Obviously I’ve had dialogue with him and conversations but I think things will start to take off when he comes back. It does need freshening up here. The squad needs strengthening and experience at this level but you’ve got to deal with the hand you’ve got. You’ve got to make sure that the lads who are already here are as well prepared as they can be.”
Asked when he expected transfers to go through, Redfearn said: “Sooner rather than later hopefully.
“We have a president (Cellin0) and a recruiter in Nicola Salerno. I’m a head coach so our set-up is different to other clubs but I’m in the conversations with the owner and Nicola.
“They’ve mentioned players and I’ve put a list of players to them who I think will benefit us through my experience. Hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll get those players through.”
Becchio is fit after suffering a fractured heel earlier in the season and his agent admitted that the 31-year-old was keen on a move to Elland Road.
“He’s someone I fancy,” Redfearn said. “He’s well known at Leeds United, he’s scored a lot of goals for Leeds United and he knows the division. He knows the level and he’s played in the Championship. For me he’d give us good competition definitely.”
Redfearn was also pressed about the possibility of approaching Bolton’s Jermaine Beckford, another ex-Leeds striker who thrived alongside Becchio and made up one half of a prolific partnership during
the club’s years in League One.
Beckford, however, joined Preston North End on loan in November and that deal included a provision allowing Preston boss Simon Grayson to retain him until the end of the season.
“The ideal scenario is that we get two or three signings,” Redfearn said.
“I don’t want to talk about certain players but the fact of the matter is that we need experience and two or three players in to stiffen things up.”
Leeds sanctioned one outgoing transfer yesterday by allowing forward Nicky Ajose to return to Crewe Alexandra on loan for the rest of the season.
Noel Hunt, who agreed to sever his contract at Elland Road on Tuesday, has joined Ipswich Town on a short-term basis.