Leeds United boost squad with triple swoop

Billy Sharp after joining Leeds United.
Billy Sharp after joining Leeds United.
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Leeds United have moved to strengthen their squad in defence and attack with three new signings confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Defenders Liam Cooper and Giuseppe Bellusci have been joined by striker Billy Sharp with all three possibly in contention to make their debuts in the home game against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Southampton striker Sharp, 28, has signed a two-year contract with the club and has arrived for an undisclosed fee.

The Sheffield born forward started out at Sheffield United and has enjoyed successful spells with Scunthorpe and Doncaster Rovers before making a big money move to Southampton, who he helped to promotion from the Championship.

On his move United head coach David Hockaday said: “Billy is a prolific goalscorer and is tried and tested at Championship level.

“He was desperate to come here and play for us. I’m delighted to welcome Billy to the club.”

Sharp has signed on the same day as centre-back Cooper, who joins from Chesterfield for an undisclosed fee and has put pen to paper on a three-year contract.

United and Chesterfield agreed a fee for the central defender on Tuesday, but the formalities of the deal were completed on Wednesday evening.

In late July United had two bids for 22-year-old Cooper rejected by Chesterfield but a revived bid, believed to be in the region of £800,000, on Tuesday was accepted.

The Yorkshire born defender came through the academy ranks at Hull City and after making his first team debut for Hull in 2008 he spent time on loan at Carlisle United, Huddersfield Town and Chesterfield before moving to the latter permanently, making more than 50 appearances last season when he helped his team to win the League Two title and was named in the PFA Team of the Year.

His new head coach, Hockaday, said: “Liam has lots of potential as a defender. He has a great left foot and bringing him to the club is great business.”

Leeds have also confirmed that Giuseppe Bellusci has signed a one-year loan deal from Catania, subject to international clearance.

The 24 year-old central defender adds competition to United’s defence, with Jason Pearce and Scott Wootton the only senior centre-backs at the club before the latest raft of signings.