Outspoken Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino says that promising defender Sam Byram “thinks Leeds is too small for him”.
Cellino has revealed he has been left “deeply offended” after 22-year-old Byram has refused a new contract offer at Elland Road.
Byram starred for the Championship side last season and several Premier League clubs, including Everton, have been keeping tabs on the player, who according to Cellino has turned down several offers of a contract extension.
“Sam Byram is the only one that maybe thinks Leeds is too small for him,” Cellino told Sky Sports News HQ.
“He maybe thinks he deserves to be in a bigger team and a bigger club, and maybe he’s right. But when I hear that a player from Leeds, with his agent, that he thinks that Leeds is not big enough for him, that he wants something bigger, I felt really embarrassed.
“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.”
Byram, who has been used on the right wing by Uwe Rosler this season, has seen his form dip this campaign and Cellino revealed there have been no approaches for the former Leeds trainee.
“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,” added Cellino.