Massimo Cellino is ‘deeply offended’ by Sam Byram’s refusal to commit to Leeds United, but he insists he will not sell the promising youngster.
The versatile 22-year-old is fast earning a reputation as one of the best talents in the country outside of the Premier League, and he is thought to be on the radar of more than one club in the Premier League. Byram is now in the final year of his contract at Elland Road, and has angered Cellino by refusing to accept a fresh deal to extend his stay at the Championship club.
This is sure to spark fresh speculation that the player will be on his way out when the transfer window reopens, but the Leeds owner told Sky Sports: “I don’t think anybody has been asking for him and I’m not selling anyone. I didn’t sell anyone in the summer and I’m not selling anyone in January. We are not the richest club in England but we do not need anything from anyone.”
Byram, who was heavily linked with Everton during the summer, has also been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks. He has been at Leeds since linking up with their youth team a decade ago, and has now made a total of 127 appearances for the club in all competitions. This makes it all the more difficult for Cellino to accept that the player may see his future elsewhere.
“When I hear that a player from Leeds, with his agent, that he thinks that Leeds United is not a big enough clulb for him, that he wants something bigger, I felt really embarrassed,” said the controversial Italian. “He didn’t sign the new contract and he won’t sign it anymore. He’s been offered a contract a few times, he didn’t want to sign and I am deeply offended.
“I can’t believe that we’ve fallen out with it. I am so hurt inside that if he comes asking for a contract I would prefer to sign someone else. There is already a list and there is already maybe something better than him. I need to fall in love with my players. They are like my kids and I don’t want to let them go. Byram is one of those, but we don’t get on with the agent.”