By Will Butcher

Leeds are keen on signing 33-year-old defender Valerio Di Cesare to replace Giuseppe Bellusci, according to a report.

Italian website Tuttomercatoweb claim that Leeds are interested in signing the veteran centre-back on-loan, but will have to rival Hellas Verona to sign the 6ft 2in defender.

Di Cesare, who currently plays for Serie B side Bari, began his career at bitter rivals Chelsea, where he failed to make a single appearance.

Leeds are interested in bringing a centre-back to Elland Road after allowing Bellusci to move to Serie A side Empoli on-loan.

It was reported on Monday that Monk had pulled out of a deal to sign Swedish international Jan Ekstrand due to concerns over his injury history.

Di Cesare, who has also had spells with Torino and Brescia, has just 12 months left on his contract with Bari and would be available for a nominal fee should Monk want him permanently.

Bari’s number 13 made 31 Serie B appearances last-term, as his side finished fifth and qualified for the play-offs where they subsequently lost in the semi-finals.

A move to Leeds, which would be his tenth different side, would give Monk’s young defence some much needed experience, with only Berardi and Bamba being over the age of 26.

In other Leeds transfer news, this 22-year-old will be playing at Elland Road next season, according to Monk.