By Wayne Veysey

6th Apr, 2017 | 6:19pm

Reports: Leeds close to securing near £2m transfer, deal should be done next month

By Alex Stevens

Empoli will sign Giuseppe Bellusci permanently from Leeds for nearly £2million this summer if they remain in Serie A, according to reports.

Italian publications Tutto Mercato Web and Pianata Empoli claim that Empoli are ready to activate a £1.7million purchase clause in the loan deal that took Bellusci took the club last summer.

The Italian defender is on a season-long loan from the Championship promotion hopefuls but has a contract with Leeds that runs until the summer of 2018.

Bellusci’s representative Michelangelo Minieri has previously made it clear that the centre-back does not intend to return to the Yorkshire giants.

Empoli are battling to avoid relegation to Serie B but look well placed to avoid the drop and trigger the release clause in the 27-year-old’s contract when the season ends next month, which will then enable them to immediately complete the deal.

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They currently sit in 17th place in the Serie A table, five points clear of the relegation zone with eight games to play, with trio Pescara, Palermo and Crotone all below them.

Bellusci has been a mainstay of the Empoli team, making 26 appearances in Serie A alone, totalling 2,340 minutes.

The centre-back spent two years at Leeds and made 61 appearances for the first team that were marked by controversy and poor performances.

Monk signed two new centre-backs last summer, with Pontus Jansson joining on a season-long loan from Torino that will be converted into a permanent deal in the summer and Kyle Bartley signing from Swansea on a similar length deal.

The duo have formed an outstanding partnership at the back that has been the bedrock of the team’s promotion challenge.

Leeds are fifth in the Championship table ahead of their clash against Preston at Elland Road on Saturday, and well placed to secure one of the four play-off spots.

The club’s hopes of automatic promotion were virtually extinguished on Tuesday night when they suffered a second consecutive defeat at the hands of Brentford.

In other Leeds transfer news, the club are to pounce and re-sign a 23-year-old after a £10million transfer is all but sealed.

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