Leeds director reveals interest in Leonardo Pavoletti, denies Josip Ilicic bid

Elland Road pitchside

Leeds United sporting director Nicola Salerno has admitted their interest in Leonardo Pavoletti - but won't be signing Josip Ilicic.

Leeds United slipped to a 4-1 defeat to Ipswich Town on Saturday, and fans are starting to turn their attention to the January transfer window.

On Sunday, Leeds sporting director Nicola Salerno admitted that the club will attempt to sign an experienced midfielder and a striker in January - prompting rumours of a move for Sassuolo centre forward Leonardo Pavoletti.

Pavoletti was a target for Leeds in the summer, and primarily plays as a target man, meaning he would assume the role vacated by Matt Smith after his move to Fulham in September.

Having been on the fringes of the Sassuolo side in Serie A, Pavoletti could leave next month, and Tutto Mercato Web suggest that the 26-year-old is Leeds' top target - and now Salerno has admitted his interest in him in an exclusive interview with CalcioNews24.

"Pavoletti interested us last summer, we tried to get him to no avail. If he is available, we would take him gladly," said Salerno.

The attention then turned to speculation linking Leeds with a move to sign Fiorentina's Slovenian playmaker Josip Ilicic, as Leeds' growing influence in Italian transfers continues - but despite strong rumours, Salerno says that the Whites simply can't attract him to Elland Road and that the reports are false.

"No, nothing true," he said. "I am a close friend of the agent of Ilicic, I have relationships with Fiorentina and I know the guy. Currently, however, the player is not in our reach, he has higher ambitions: to play for Fiorentina in the Europa League and at this time we can't tempt him."

Ilicic was also been linked with Aston Villa in recent weeks, but reports in Italy suggest that Sampdoria will win the race for his signature, with his relationship with Fiorentina fans becoming more and more fractious by the week.

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