Leeds out to hijack Manchester United move for Cagliari star

The Whites have been linked with a shock bid for highly-rated Cagliari defender Davide Astori – a former target of old rivals Manchester United.

Newly-installed Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has reportedly launched a bid to bring 27-year-old Cagliari defender Davide Astori to the club.

According to a report from the Express, the Italian has been in contact with the club he previously owned as he looks to thrash out a deal for the Italian international.

The bid comes just months after the likes of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and, most notably, Manchester United, attempted to lure the former Milan academy graduate to the Premier League as part of a mid-season January move.

At the time, Astori and Cagliari resisted those overtures, with the Italian instead opting to remain with the club until the end of the season.

But with Cellino eager to rebuild and restore Leeds United’s reputation as one of the biggest clubs in England, the 27-year-old defender, who comes highly rated, is seen as the first part of the puzzle.

And while the likes of Manchester United and Spurs would be able to offer Astori Premier League football, it is thought that Leeds may have the inside track on any transfer, given Cellino’s pre-existing relationship with Cagliari.

The Express suggests that Leeds could pay as much as £4 million for the defender, who was previously valued at £8 million by the Serie A club.

Astori, too, could be tempted to take a step down into the Championship, provided the right financial package is offered to the player.

Much could ultimately depend on the identity of Leeds’ new manager, following Brian McDermott’s departure last week.

The Whites have been linked with a number of big names in the past few weeks, with Claudio Ranieri among those rumoured to be on the club’s radar.

And should Leeds opt to appoint an Italian, be it Ranieri, Gianfranco Zola or even new recruit Benito Carbone, then Astori could come soon after.

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