Leeds
Nicola Salerno leaves Leeds having spent just 12 months at Elland Road.Getty Images

Leeds United's sporting director, Nicola Salerno, has left Elland Road after the mutual termination of his contract was confirmed.

Italian Salerno joined the Championship outfit in July 2014 having previously worked with Massimo Cellino at Cagliari, and was instrumental in overseeing the club's transfer business last summer.

His departure was previously thought to have occurred in April when Cellino, barred from involvement in running Leeds as a 'relevant person' for five months due to a charge from the Italian courts relating to tax evasion, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that his compatriot had resigned in the aftermath of then assistant manager Steve Thompson's suspension due to an unspecified internal matter.

That does not seem to have been the case, however, with Leeds announcing his exit to supporters via their official Twitter account on 24 June.

"Nicola Salerno has departed his role as Sporting Director at #lufc after a mutual termination of his contract was reached," they said.

"#lufc would like to thank Nicola for his efforts over the last year and he will always be welcomed back to Elland Road in the future."

In a recent interview with Sky Sports, Salerno addressed the reasons for his exit and claimed that he was no longer wanted by Cellino despite having 12 months of his contract still left to run.

"Cellino told me he would prefer to have another sporting director – an English one, not Italian," he said. "I enjoy working with Massimo, he is the typical Italian president. I know him very well, we worked together at Cagliari for seven years.

"But now he doesn't want me any more. I had another year on my contract but I understand his characteristics."

Leeds targeted a number of Italian-based players during Salerno's one and only summer transfer window at the club, with the likes of Giuseppe Bellusci, Souleymane Doukara, Mirco Antenucci, Marco Silvestri, Edgar Cani, Gaetano Berardi and Tommaso Bianchi all arriving, along with former Cagliari loanee Adryan.

His departure will presumably herald a change of emphasis this time, with Leeds having introduced Martyn Glover as head of recruitment just a matter of weeks after Adam Pearson's arrival as executive director.

"Adryan will leave," Salerno further asserted. "Massimo was very excited to sign Adryan because he was a very good player at Flamengo and Cagliari. But in England, in a 4-4-2, he couldn't play.

"The players who are contracted will stay but the players who were on loan will leave. The young players who didn't play – 100% they will all leave Leeds."

Specifically addressing the rift with Thompson, Salerno remained rather coy and said: "I had a bad relationship with Steve but I didn't speak to Massimo about him."

Leeds finished 15th in the second tier in 2014/15 after a typically unsettled season in which they went through three different permanent managers in Dave Hockaday, Darko Milanic and former caretaker Neil Redfearn.

Ex-Brentford and Wigan Athletic boss Uwe Rosler became the fourth permanent appointment of Cellino's eventful reign in May, and has already bolstered his squad with the permanent signing of popular defender Sol Bamba in addition to former Motherwell striker Lee Erwin and American goalkeeper Charlie Horton.

Leeds begin next season with a home clash against relegated Burnley on 8 August. They then face Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers in the Capital One Cup first round five days later.

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