McCormack sale will kickstart Leeds recruitment drive

LEEDS UNITED are ready to kick-start their summer recruitment plans in earnest, with the transfer embargo imposed on the club set finally to be lifted.
Elland RoadElland Road
Elland Road

United have been waiting for the green light to start their close-season business, with the club’s funds likely to be swelled by the sale of captain Ross McCormack – expected to sign for Fulham shortly.

A deal, worth around £10m, is being discussed with McCormack keen to leave the club.

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On the incoming front, the club are working to line up a number of players, several of whom are based in Italy, where United are currently in pre-season training.

Owner Massimo Cellino –tipped to enlist the involvement at the club of his former Cagliari sporting director and transfer guru Nicola Salerno in the near future – has been linked with bringing in a number of Italian-based players, including goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, 23.

Leyton Orient midfielder Romain Vincelot is another player believed to be the radar of United, who have taken former

Arsenal and Tottenham trainee Andre Blackman, who ended last season at Maidenhead United, over to northern Italy for their two-week pre-season training camp as a trialist.

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With the future of a number of senior players uncertain, and the likes of Paddy Kenny and Stephen Warnock tipped to move on as part of the club’s squad overhaul and plan to cut the wage budget, United’s need to boost their depleted squad numbers is becoming glaring.

Centre-half Marius Zaliukas yesterday left the club by mutual consent, with his contract, which had a year left to run, terminated by mutual consent.

The Lithuanian international defender, 30, had a year left on his United deal, having signed an 18-month contract last autumn after being released by Hearts last summer. Zaliukas made 15 appearances for United and was not named in the 20-man party which headed out to Italy for the club’s pre-season training camp on Monday.

Meanwhile, GFH Capital chief executive officer Jinesh Patel has confirmed that GFHC plan to continue to maintain a minor shareholding at the club, but has admitted that things ‘can change in football’.

GFHC hold a 10 per cent shareholding in United and

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effectively manage another 15 per cent, with Patel revealing that they remain in regular contact with Cellino and have input regarding financial decisions of the club.

He confirmed that GFHC have spoken to Cellino regarding the possible sale of McCormack, while stressing that the day-to-day matters of the club are solely the domain of the Italian.

He said: “In terms of the running of the club, Massimo and his team are calling the shots, rightly so.

“They are the majority shareholders.

“We are there as 25 per cent shareholders through other parties as well.

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“We sit on the board and try and provide our own input on the strategic investment of the club going forward.

“(But) in terms of the day to day running of the club, it’s Massimo and his team.

“Currently the plan is to remain as shareholders, but in football anything can change overnight.

“Having said that we remain shareholders in order to benefit from the expertise Massimo and his team bring and hopefully with the financial benefits that should accrue if and when we get promoted to the Premier League.”

FC Halifax Town have confirmed the signing of 27-year-old centre-half Steve Williams.

The 6ft 4ins defender played for Macclesfield Town in the 2013-14 season.