Leeds have announced the appointment of Benito Carbone in a consultancy role dealing with technical and football operations.
The 42-year-old tweeted on Wednesday that he had been hired by owner Massimo Cellino as a "Special Consultant to the Board of Directors for sport matters inluding Facilities & Academy."
The appointment of Carbone, who played in the Premier League for Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Bradford, has cast fresh doubt on the future of Leeds boss Brian McDermott.
Cellino is rumoured to be keen to appoint Carbone as manager, but he is thought to be unwilling to pay McDermott's settlement fee.
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 Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford City, Derby County and Middlesbrough midfielder will be involved with all football matters, including both the first team and the academy."
McDermott is understood to have taken a holiday after he attended Monday's League Managers Association's awards dinner in London.
Carbone called time on his career as a player while with Pavia in 2010 and took up a coaching role with the youth team at the Italian club.
The former Torino, Napoli and Inter Milan midfielder was sacked as head coach of Serie B club Varese after just four months in charge, and he then took the helm with lower league club Saint-Christophe Vallee d'Aoste in 2012.
But Carbone has since revealed his determination to manage a club in England, and he was linked with the vacant manager's job at Wednesday before the Owls appointed Stuart Gray in December.
Cellino announced last month that Carbone was joining the youth set-up at Leeds.
Meanwhile, Football League officials will meet with Leeds directors next week to question whether the closure of the club's Thorp Arch training complex will have any impact on their academy.
Cellino, who completed a deal to buy 75 per cent of shares in the club in April, claimed he was forced to temporarily close the training complex due to the club's perilous financial situation.
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."
Leeds revealed a loss of £9.5million for 2012-13 when their accounts were published last month, and Cellino, who described his first weeks in charge as "unbelievable, impossible", said daily running costs were "well over £100,000".
The club is reportedly losing over £1m every month, and Cellino is believed to be planning a number of staff cuts during the off-season.