Kenny in limbo as Leeds sign Reading keeper - is it because Cellino doesn’t like number 17?

THE Leeds United career of Paddy Kenny is almost certainly over after the Whites completed their first summer signing with the capture of keeper Stuart Taylor.

Paddy Kenny.
Paddy Kenny.

The Romford-born custodian, 33, has signed a one-year deal with United after leaving previous club Reading at the end of last season.

Kenny has been left back in the UK to consider his future with the 36-year-old not accompanying his United team-mates to northern Italy for their pre-season tour.

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Meanwhile, in a bizarre twist, some national reports are suggesting that owner Massimo Cellino’s aversion to the number 17 - Kenny’s birthday is on May 17 - is part of the reason why he does not want the keeper to play for the club again.

Cellino, who is also known to have a dislike of the colour purple, is reportedly so suspicious of the number 17 that he had the seats at his former club Cagliari, taken out and replaced with 16B.

The key factor in the club’s quest to get several senior players including Kenny off the wage bill is believed to be financial, with the former QPR and Sheffield United keeper, who has a year left on his deal, one of the higher earners at the club.

United have already agreed a deal this week to terminate the contract of defender Marius Zaliukas by mutual consent. The Lithuanian international defender, who had a year remaining on his contract, has since linked up with Glasgow Rangers on trial.

The future of a number of other senior players, including Stephen Warnock, appears to be in doubt.

Taylor is likely to act as back-up to a first-choice keeper, with United strongly linked with a move for young Italian custodian Marco Silvestri.

The 23-year-old made his Serie A debut in April whilst on loan at Cellino’s former club Cagliari, with his playing rights owned by fellow minnows Chievo.

Taylor was number three keeper in his time in his two years at Reading behind Adam Federici and Alex McCarthy, with his last appearance for the Royals being against former club Arsenal on March 30, 2013.

He made four appearances during his time in Berkshire having been back up to Costel Pantilimon and Joe Hart during his three years at previous club Manchester City.

On Taylor, currently with his new team-mates on United’s two-week training camp in Santa Cristini, head coach Dave Hockaday said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get Stuart Taylor here. He comes highly recommended by everybody. He has lots of experience and is a great professional.

“He will be perfect for our dressing room because we have a very young team. So I’d like to give Stuart a big welcome to Leeds United.”