Federico Viviani’s proposed transfer to Leeds United was mired in confusion last night with the midfielder and his advisors preparing to fly back to Rome with no agreement reached.
Viviani’s camp have arranged to return to Italy from England today following a week of protracted and unsuccessful negotiations over the 22-year-old’s loan to Elland Road.
A season-long move from Serie A club Roma appeared to be a formality on Tuesday after Viviani travelled to Leeds and attended United’s pre-season friendly at Mansfield Town.
But discussions in the past 72 hours have failed to push the deal over the line, despite Roma’s apparent willingness to send the Italy Under-21 international to the Championship for the whole of the 2014-15 season.
Neither Viviani’s agent nor Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, who has been abroad all week, have commented on the reasons behind the impasse, though the midfielder’s advisors are known to have been concerned about the standard of United’s performance in their 2-0 loss to Mansfield.
Viviani – a defensive playmaker who has played six times for Roma and captained their youth team – was expected to become Leeds’ sixth summer signing and Cellino insisted he was confident of pushing the transfer through on Thursday evening, saying: “I think we’ll be fine.”
But Viviani’s agent, Giovanni Ferro, cast fresh doubt over the move last night, saying: “Tomorrow we go back to Rome and see (what happens) in the next few days.”
United have already signed four players from the Italian leagues - Marco Silvestri, Gaetano Berardi, Souleymane Doukara and Tommaso Bianchi - but an attempt to land Giuseppe Bellusci from Catania collapsed after Cellino refused to meet the centre-back’s wage demands.
In an interview with the YEP last week, Cellino said that another “five or six” signings would be made by Leeds in this transfer window and set the club’s budget for new players at £15m.