Leeds United are unwilling to enter contract talks with Gaetano Berardi, amid continued uncertainty over how football will eventually resume.
The 31-year-old’s current deal expires in the summer and he has been able to discuss a pre-contract agreement with clubs abroad since the beginning of the year.
Football Insider report that Berardi is open to remaining in Yorkshire, but Leeds are planning to wait until the end of the current campaign before deciding whether or not to discuss terms with the Switzerland international.
Berardi has become somewhat of a fan favourite during his six-year spell with the club, and it’s this relationship with the club’s fans that has perhaps dissuaded him from talking with teams from abroad.
Matters are complicated further by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has brought football to a halt globally.
There has been no action since March, leaving Leeds’ promotion campaign very much in the balance. The Whites, before play was halted, looked set to achieve automatic promotion to the Premier League, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side looking to return to the top flight after a 16-year absence.
Should the season be resumed at the start of June as the EFL has proposed, Berardi could see his contract automatically extended to complete the rest of the current campaign. Leeds could then look to negotiate terms, should they wish to retain his services.
Despite being used as a squad player under manager Bielsa, Berardi has remained a loyal servant and has provided useful cover in a number of defensive positions for the club, albeit while boasting a poor discipline record – he has picked up a staggering eight red cards in just 150 appearances for Leeds.
Were he step up to Premier League level, he’ll be heavily scrutinised for a record like that – but may have to concern himself with being replaced if the club go up.