Why Leeds Should Offload Giuseppe Bellusci This Summer
The enigma that is Giuseppe Bellusci looks to have had his time back in Italy ended, and Leeds will now need to make a big decision on their centre-back.
Kyle Bartley has gone, leaving Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson as Leeds’ only definite first team centre-backs and the club could look very short of defensive cover. Unpopular with the fans almost from the off, Bellusci looks set to permanently part ways with Leeds United this summer following the conclusion of his season-long loan with Empoli.
Playing 57 games for Leeds and scoring twice now seems like a distant memory. However, it appears the fans and most people attached to the club can’t wait to see the back of him for good. For his part, he is 27 now and should have ideally capitalised on a solid enough season in Serie A by grabbing a big permanent move while he had the chance.
I can’t imagine it would do Leeds any good whatsoever to keep the centre-back at the club long term, potentially providing a divisive attitude in and around the squad after what was a broadly good season which saw Leeds move a step forward, though ultimately they were left disappointed after missing out on the play-offs.
However, Leeds’ hopes of selling off Bellusci permanently this summer have been put to danger by Empoli’s relegation from Italy’s top tier. A 2-1 loss on the last day of the season against Palermo along with Crotone’s win against Lazio sent Empoli crashing down to Serie B.
Bellusci was expected to sign permanently for Empoli, having made the centre-back position his own while playing there last year. Reportedly, talks were to take place after the conclusion of the season between Empoli and Leeds to make the transfer deal permanent but their relegation now means a change of budget.
His unconventional and often calamitous defending went hand-in-hand with his penchant for a social media gripe left him with nowhere to go at the club last summer. He has a contract at Leeds until 2018 and may be hard for Leeds to shift, but shift him they must.
Giving him some game time in the friendlies shouldn’t be too hurtful for them and it’s something Thomas Christiansen looks willing to do. But given that he could be harmful to the club before leaving for free in a year’s time means they should take whatever deal that comes along their way from Italy this summer.