By Alex Stevens

Former Leeds director of football Nicola Salerno has suggested that Massimo Cellino’s plan to take over Italian club Brescia is not dead in the water.

The Elland Road joint owner has been strongly linked with buying the Sere B outfit this season despite official denials.

Intruigingly, Salerno, who says he is a close friend of his fellow Italian Cellino, hinted that the deal was still very much alive in a new interview this week.

“What is the relationship with Cellino? So many ups and downs, but we are bound by a deep friendship,” Salerno told Italian outlet Media Gol.

“When he called me at Leeds, I said yes without thinking twice. If Cellino call me to start over with Brescia? I have a contract with Palermo and I intend to respect it. Then we’ll see.”

In January, Salerno was appointed the third director of football of the season at Serie A club Palermo, after agreeing terms to work under volcanic president Maurizio Zamparini.

He has been appointed at Palermo until the end of the season, although there have been reports in Italy that the deal includes an option for a further 12 months.

Salerno is a long-time ally and favourite of Cellino and worked under the Italian for a year at Elland Road as well as for seven years at the Leeds joint-owner’s former club Calgliari.

Cellino bought Leeds in January 2014, and has sacked six managers during his erratic three-year tenure.

Italian sports media mogul Andrea Radrizzani bought a 50 per cent stake in the Yorkshire giants in late December to join Cellino at the helm.

Leeds are gunning for promotion back to the Premier League following a transformation in fortunes under manager Garry Monk.

The team who finished 13th last season are fourth in the Championship with eight matches remaining and are in an excellent position to clinch a play-off finish.

Leeds are back in action on Saturday evening when they travel to play-off rivals Reading for a Championship fixture.

In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.

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