Leeds United: Whites line up triple transfer swoop

NUMBER EIGHT: Giuseppe Bellusci becomes Leeds United's latest signing of the summer.
NUMBER EIGHT: Giuseppe Bellusci becomes Leeds United's latest signing of the summer.
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Leeds United will look to finalise the signing of Chesterfield centre-back Liam Cooper today after Giuseppe Bellusci completed a season-long loan deal from Catania last night.

And the club are in talks to take striker Billy Sharp from Southampton after making a number of moves in the transfer market in the wake of Saturday’s defeat at Millwall.

Cooper is to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms in the next 24 hours following a third and successful offer from Leeds for the 22-year-old defender.

United pulled out of negotiations for Cooper two weeks ago after Chesterfield refused to accept a bid of £475,000 but the collapse of talks with Juventus centre-back Frederik Sorensen last Friday convinced Leeds to renew their interest.

The Elland Road side are understood to have increased their valuation of Cooper to around £600,000 up front, paying an initial fee which could rise to £800,000 depending on future bonus payments.

Leeds first approached Cooper after the centre-back – a former Hull City player who has made more than 70 appearances for Chesterfield – played against them in a friendly at the Proact Stadium on July 26.

But owner Massimo Cellino promptly switched his attention to Sorensen, persuading Juventus to release the Dane on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move next summer.

A disagreement with Sorensen’s agent, however, saw United withdraw their interest in him less than 24 hours before Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Millwall, their first game of the Championship season.

A disappointing performance at The Den and the rapidly-approaching transfer deadline brought a quick reaction, with United also returning to another former target in Bellusci.

Cellino targeted the Catania centre-back earlier in the summer but lost patience with him after the two sides failed to agree personal terms.

Fresh discussions, however, cleared the way for Bellusci to join Leeds on a year-long loan, with United also securing an option to sign him permanently next summer.

Bellusci’s management firm issued a photograph of him signing his deal before last night’s League Cup first-round tie at home to Accrington Stanley and he was involved in the warm-up, despite not signing in time to play.

Leeds, meanwhile, are understood to have held initial talks with Sharp’s representatives amid an on-going search for a reliable striker after the £11m sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham last month.

Paul Heckingbottom.

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