Bye, Bye, Bellusci
Tuesday, 18th Jul 2017 14:12 by Tim Whelan
There was dancing in the streets from Guisley to Garforth when the news broke that Giuseppe Bellusci is finally going to leave Leeds United for good.
This morning the club issued a statement saying that “Leeds United can confirm that Giuseppe Bellusci’s contract has been terminated by mutual consent. We wish Giuseppe well for his future.” His deal did have another 12 months to run, but we’ve given up trying to flog him and we’re that keen to get rid of him that we’re letting him go for nothing.
The Italian centre-back was one of Massimo Cellino's first signings in August 2014, when we paid an incredible £1.6m for his services. Have we said before that Il Presidente could be prone to the occasional bit of poor judgement? Bellusci went on to make 61 appearances over the next two years, but spent most of the time as an absolute liability in the heart of our defence.
When he wasn’t making critical errors he was picking up unnecessary bookings and conceding free kicks in dangerous positions. Even Liam Cooper was regarded as a more reliable option as a central defender. Bellusci’s finest hour in a Leeds shirt came with a superb free-kick he curled into the net in a 3-1 win at Bournemouth, but he never came close to repeating this feat.
He was rumoured to be a disruptive influence in the dressing room, and was one of the infamous ‘sicknote six’ who pulled out of a game at Watford, in what seemed to be a deliberate attempt to undermine our then head coach Neil Redfearn. And a year later he wasn’t done with upsetting the club’s hierarchy, as Steve Evans dropped him for disciplinary reasons in April 2016.
And he never played for Leeds again in a competitive game. First he went back to his native land for a year on loan at Empoli, but it’s no surprise they went down with him in the side, and they declined to extend his stay at their club. So this summer he was back at Leeds by default, and it was thought he would train with the squad while we looked for another club to take him off our hands.
But that changed after he got into a spat with some of the crowd in the first pre-season friendly, before he further annoyed the club with his comments about this game on Twitter. So there were obvious signs he wasn’t part of Thomas Christiansen’s plans, as he was left out of the official team photo and omitted from the party that is now in Austria.
There are reports that a few clubs are after the 27 year-old, with Greek club PAOK being the favourites, followed by Italian trio Bologna, Cagliari and Benevento. And good luck to them. But despite this interest Leeds seem to have given up on any hope of getting a transfer fee and decided to get him off the payroll at the earliest opportunity.
This leaves us with Jansson and Cooper as the only two remaining central defenders (with Kyle Bartley’s loan spell having finished) and of those two Pontus will be suspended for the first two games of the new season. But the Yorkshire Post have assured us that Leeds are working to sign two replacements and are “edging close to one deal”. Watch this space.
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Photo: Action Images
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