Brescia have joined SPAL in fighting to sign Gaetano Berardi on a free transfer after Leeds United elected to release the defender last month, according to TuttoMercatoWEB.
The Whites chose against tabling a new contract to the 32-year-old, and announced he would be leaving Elland Road. Barry Douglas and later Ezgjan Alioski plus Pablo Hernandez also departed West Yorkshire at the end of their respective contracts to find pastures new.
Berardi could now return to Italy with the club he represented between 2006 and 2012 in Brescia. The defender joined Le Rondinelle’s academy from Lugano in 2004 before making his senior debut two years later.
Berardi spent six seasons in the Brescia first-team before joining Sampdoria in 2012. But he would only spend two years in Genoa before moving to Leeds, where he would help form a promotion-clinching side under Marcelo Bielsa.
Yet injuries derailed Berardi’s time with Leeds toward the end of his spell in England. He would only make two appearances after gaining a place in the Premier League, coming in the final two fixtures against Southampton and West Brom.
SPAL have since explored a deal to sign Berardi after Leeds released the ex-Switzerland international, per il Resto del Carlino. But TuttoMercatoWEB now claim Brescia, as well as Gli Spallini, have recently made tentative approaches to the one-cap defender.
Il Resto del Carlino also noted Berardi is ready to return to Italy, now that he is a free agent. But a move to SPAL would see him have to rival Lorenzo Dickmann for minutes at right-back.
Berardi could seal emotional Brescia return after Leeds release
Brescia could offer Berardi an emotional return to the Mario Rigamonti Stadium by rivalling SPAL for the former Leeds defender. The Swiss made a name for himself over six years with Le Rondinelle and returned his only international appearance.
Berardi made his senior Switzerland debut against Liechtenstein in 2011 as an 83rd-minute substitute for Stephan Lichtsteiner. But those seven minutes have proven to be his only action on the international stage in a decade.
Now, Berardi is without a club, but could be emotionally pulled to wearing Brescia colours again after leaving Leeds. And in doing so, hand current Rondinelle boss Filippo Inzaghi a difference-maker in defence that Bielsa lauded for his off-field importance.
“He is a reference to all of his teammates,” Bielsa said, via the Yorkshire Evening Post, in October. “His opinion is one that he changing room listens to and also the staff. And when he is able to recover [from injury], he will bring something to the team, as he always does.”