Leeds have appointed Italian Benito Carbone as director of football, with Brian McDermott’s grip on the manager’s job looking increasingly tenuous.
Carbone’s official title is consultant responsible for the club’s technical and football operations.
The 42-year-old former Bantam, who spent six years as a player in the Premier League from the mid-90s, has a remit to advise the new board of directors at Elland Road on first-team matters.
A brief club statement read: “The club are delighted to announce that Benito Carbone has joined the club in a consultant position and will deal with technical and football operations.
“The former City, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County and Middles-brough midfielder will be involved with all football matters, including both the first team and the academy.”
Carbone retired as a player at Pavia in 2010 but remained at the Italian club as youth-team coach.
The former Torino, Napoli and Inter Milan midfielder became head coach at Serie B club Varese in June 2011 but was sacked four months later.
Carbone took on a similar role at Italian lower league club Saint-Christophe Vallee d’Aoste in 2012 before quitting and has since made no secret of his desire to pursue a managerial career in England.
He was linked with the vacant manager’s job at Sheffield Wednesday before the permanent appointment of Stuart Gray in December and last month Cellino announced Carbone was joining the youth set-up at Leeds.
It has been reported in the national press that Cellino wants Carbone to take over as manager before the start of the season, hoping Brian McDermott will accept a cut-price settlement.
West Brom are rumoured to be interested in McDermott after sacking Pepe Mel.
Meanwhile, the Football League has confirmed it will send representatives to meet with Leeds officials next week in a bid to ascertain whether the closure of their Thorp Arch training complex will have any impact on the club’s youth academy.
Cellino, whose deal to buy 75 per cent of the club’s shares was completed on April 8, temporarily closed the club’s Thorp Arch training complex on Friday in a bid to ease running costs.
A spokesman for the Football League said it was not launching an investigation into the closure but “was meeting with the club to discuss what implications it might have on the youth development programme.”