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Cellino 'baffled' after talks with ex-Leeds manager over shock return - report

Elland Road pitchside

Leeds United are poised to announce Darko Milanic as their new manager, but Massimo Cellino reportedly held talks with Simon Grayson over the job.

Leeds United's time under new owner Massimo Cellino has been predictably eventful. The Italian made the bizarre decision to appoint former Forest Green Rovers manager Dave Hockaday as the club's new boss after the departure of Brian McDermott, but he lasted just 70 days before being axed by Cellino.

That leaves the Whites without a permanent manager, though Neil Redfearn has led the club admirably in recent weeks, with big wins against Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Redfearn is unlikely to land the job after speculation broke that Sturm Graz manager Darko Milanic is set to leave the Austrian club in favour of Elland Road.

Milanic has been the favourite for almost a week now, and the 46-year-old is now poised to take the reins in West Yorkshire - but he was far from the only candidate.

According to former BBC journalist Simon Austin, Cellino held talks with a host of potential managers - including former Leeds boss Simon Grayson.

Grayson, 44, became Leeds manager back in 2008 having impressed at Blackpool, and the lifelong Leeds fan took the club back to the Championship in 2010, but lost his job in January 2012 after a poor run of results. An underwhelming spell at Huddersfield followed despite guiding the Terriers to promotion, and now he's at Preston - where he took the club to the League One playoffs last season.

This campaign hasn't got off to a perfect start though, and rumours have been rife of a return to Elland Road for Grayson - and Austin confirmed that Cellino held talks with Grayson, only to be 'baffled' over the involvement of his agent.

"The 58-year-old also met former Leeds boss Simon Grayson - and his agent," said Austin. "The eccentric Italian joked that he wasn't sure who was the manager and who was the agent, because the latter spoke more than the former. Cellino admits he's baffled and frustrated that managers (or head coaches) in England all seem to have agents, and that they exert so much influence. He insists things are different in Italy."

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