Owner Massimo Cellino appears to have ruled out a move for former striker Luciano Becchio.
Cani, a 6’4” centre-forward at Catania, could become United’s first January signing with talks between Leeds and the Serie B club in progress.
United want to take the 25-year-old on loan for the rest of the season but a proposed approach for Becchio is set to come to nothing following an admission from Cellino that he was not prepared to sanction the signing of the former Leeds striker.
Head coach Neil Redfearn recommended Becchio during recent discussions with Cellino and Becchio’s agent made it clear last week that the Argentinian would be willing to negotiate a return to Elland Road.
The 31-year-old spent four-and-a-half prolific years at Leeds before leaving to join Norwich City at the start of 2013.
Becchio is on the fringes of Norwich’s squad and seemingly surplus to requirements at Carrow Road but he spent two months before Christmas recovering from a fractured heel.
His representatives are aware of Redfearn’s interest but Leeds have not pushed for the signing of Becchio and that option appears to have been dismissed by Cellino.
Speaking to the Sun, Cellino said: “We love Becchio and made a big mistake when we let him go.
“But now it’s too late. He is not the same player he was three years ago and Leeds is not the same club. He is the past and we are concerned about the future.”
United’s president, who has sporting director Nicola Salerno working to identify potential targets, is more likely to strike an agreement to bring Cani to England for the second half of the Championship campaign.
Cani is an Albanian international who grew up in Italy and has spent most of his career in the Italian leagues. He moved to Poland in 2011 for a spell with Polonia Warsaw which was marred by the club’s severe financial position and repeated fall-outs between the striker and Polonia officials.
Cani has previously played for Bari, Palermo and Piacenza and is currently under contract at Catania, who he joined in 2013.
Since Cellino’s takeover of Leeds in April, the Elland Road club have looked to Catania for the signings of centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci and striker Souleymane Doukara.
Striker Mirco Antenucci was also on the Sicilian side’s books for a time before moving to Yorkshire in August.
The pressure on Leeds to strengthen their squad is intensifying steadily with the club one place above the Championship’s relegation places and a deal in place to to send captain Stephen Warnock to Derby County.