New chairman Andrew Umbers says Leeds will not be a selling club

Leeds United 2

New chairman Andrew Umbers says Leeds will start contract talks with young duo Sam Byram and Lewis Cook.

New Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers has given his first broadcast interview since arriving at Elland Road in January.

With Massimo Cellino having to resign as club president, Umbers has arrived as chairman, and spoke to BBC Radio West Yorkshire about some of the issues concerning the club right now.

Umbers doesn't come from a footballing background, but has reassured fans that Leeds have no intention of selling some of their best players in order to balance the books, and cited Cellino's success with Cagliari as proof that they don't need to sell in order to progress.

"This club is not about player trading," said Umbers. "A lot of football clubs survive by buying and selling players; some from their youth, some that they've bought and taken the profit - and that is how football is managed. The point about Leeds United is that we didn't want to do that. Massimo Cellino, when he owned Cagliari for 23 years, has made €10m profit every year in the last ten years has been - in broad terms - without trading players on."

Leeds have a number of saleable assets right now, particularly young duo Sam Byram and Lewis Cook. The pair came up through the Leeds United academy, and are key members of the first team under manager Neil Redfearn.

However, both players are out of contract in 2016, meaning Byram, 21, and Cook, 18, could leave the club for knockdown fees in the very near future.

In a bid to ease fears over their futures, Umbers told fans that contract talks will start with the two youngsters in the coming weeks, and that their hopes of tying them down to new deals were delayed with Cellino's exit.

"Nicola Salerno and Massimo Cellino were re-negotiating and offering new contracts to those players that might be exposed post-2016. We do not want to lose, really under any circumstances, players of any pedigree. We're really happy with the squad as it is - we'd love to score more goals, but we're really happy with it," he said.

"We understand the judiciousness of having a team with three year contracts, because the consistency, continuity that that brings to the coach, the head coach - who is very talented - is enormous. Yes, that is to be addressed in the next few weeks," added Umbers.

Umbers' admissions will be music to the ears of Leeds fans, who want to see young players feature in the first team and ultimately stay at the club for the long-term.

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