By Coral Barry

Empoli have joined the race to sign Leeds’ Giuseppe Bellusci, according to a report.

The Leeds defender is thought to be keen on a move away from Elland Road this summer after falling out of favour with former manager Steve Evans and not getting a single minute in the final four games of the season.

There has been speculation that Atalanta, Torino, Bologna and Sampdoria were all interested in Bellusci’s signature and Italian transfer website GianlucaDiMarzio.com has now claimed Empoli have entered the race.

Before being frozen out at the end of the campaign, Bellusci had made 31 appearances for Leeds in all competitions.

Bellusci initially joined on loan from Italian club Catania, before earning a permanent deal and still has two years left to run on the four-year contract he signed in 2014.

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The 26-year-old is reportedly being eyed as a replacement for Empoli’s Lorenzo Tonelli who the club recently sold to Napoli.

Empoli finished tenth in Serie A and are believed to be eager to make a move for Bellusci as soon as possible after they made him their top target.

Although Bellusci may be keen on a return to his homeland, any transfer could be delayed by new Leeds manager Garry Monk.

Leeds’ players have yet to return from their summer holidays for pre-season and presumably Monk would prefer to have a look at Bellusci before deciding whether to offload him.

In other Leeds news, the club have denied claims their star youngster is on the verge of a move to the Premier League.