The securing of Lewis Cook on a long-term contract was the top priority for most Leeds fans this summer, but is the offer made acceptable?
News emerged late on Thursday night that Leeds president and owner Massimo Cellino had offered a contract to 18-year-old midfielder Lewis Cook and the England under-19 international was now considering the terms tabled.
Confirmation was received via a Yorkshire Evening Post report on Friday morning, but the initial joy that Leeds fans felt at their dazzling youngster being secured to the club was immediately tempered by news that Cook had been offered just a one-year extension to his current deal.
Cook is currently tied to the club until the end of the 2015/16 season, and therefore fans have been unsettled by the inevitable prospect of Premier League clubs hovering over the midfield prospect this summer. Securing Cook's long-term future was therefore essential to keep any bids for the player at bay, but fans are today dismayed by the fact that just a one-year extension has been offered and therefore the club will be in exactly the same position in 12 months' time.
The Yorkshire Evening Post understood that Leeds were planning to offer a three-year deal to Cook - who made 38 appearances in the 2014/15 season - but Cellino's comments suggest that just an extension securing him to the club until the end of the 2016/17 season has been put forward.
Given Cellino's preferred method of operating in the recent past, it is possible that the one-year extension is incentivised, and perhaps a rolling extension will be offered based on performance, appearances or England representation. Even if this is the case, questions can be asked over why such a prospect cannot be secured with more certainty.
Fans are now left to consider how much worth Leeds are placing on what many believe to be the best young prospect to emerge from the club since Fabian Delph in 2008, indeed many rate him higher than Delph. It is also to be hoped that, even if Cook considers a two-year deal is acceptable for an 18-year-old, that the financial terms are reflective of his standing and immense potential. Given the standard of players the club have recruited in recent years, there has to be some doubt over whether Leeds would offer the terms that Cook's displays warrant. His absence in the last few weeks of the season was hugely detrimental to Leeds, and he deserves to be rewarded as a key member of the side.
A further area of concern for Leeds fans is the fact that the players currently at the club with the longest contracts are three of the Italians recruited by Cellino last summer. Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri (24), defender Guiseppe Bellusci (25) and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi (26) all signed four-year deals when they were recruited before the start of the 2014/15 season, and are therefore contracted to the club until 2018.
Why such players warrant a longer commitment than a hotly and widely-regarded 18-year-old will stick in the throat of Leeds fans, and points to either a significant shifting in the policy with regards to players' contracts, or yet another confused message coming from within Leeds United.
Whatever it is, Leeds fans will be desperate for Cook to sign the contract on offer to him and pray that somewhere behind the scenes common sense is playing a part in proceedings. History suggests that the signs are not good.