Leeds United have confirmed that South African international striker, Davide Somma, is unlikely to play for the club again.
Somma will soon be out of contract at the English Championship side, who have made it clear that he will not be offered an extension.
The 28-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged three seasons at Elland Road, where his immense goal scoring potential was curtailed by three knee operations.
He featured fleetingly for Leeds last season, but just when it seemed he was back in action for good, Somma needed more surgery on his damaged knee cartilage.
Leeds have invited Somma to remain in training at the club, and are happy to let him participate in their pre-season programme, but their intention is to help him find a new team to play for.
“He’s a great guy who’s been really unlucky. I spoke to Harvey (Sharman, United’s head physiotherapist) and we agreed that we wanted to do the right thing by him,” Leeds manager Brian McDermott told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“We’ll look after him, try to get him fit and if something comes up for him elsewhere, we’ll try to make sure that nothing stops him taking up the opportunity.”
Towards the end of the season, Leeds announced that “the South African international will have the opportunity to join in pre-season training with a view to assessing his fitness”, suggesting that Somma might still have the chance to stay at the club.
But McDermott says the chances remain slim that Somma will play a competitive game for Leeds again.
“I think realistically that’s not going to happen. You never say never in football but that’s not necessarily how we were thinking,” he said.
“At the moment he just needs to concentrate on getting fit and over all the injuries. You feel for him.”
As South Africa embark upon their must-win World Cup qualifiers against Central African Republic and Ethiopia it is hard not to feel sorry for Somma, and for Bafana Bafana who could use his natural finishing instincts.