Has Massimo Cellino already made his first post-Pearson mistake at Leeds?

Massimo Cellino 2

Was Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino wrong to call out Sam Byram?

It just a week since Adam Pearson resigned as chief executive of Leeds United, and already owner Massimo Cellino is making headlines - and not really for the right reasons.

Pearson quit to focus on other business interests, but his departure has left a void at the club, which Cellino appears intent to fill.

While Pearson was in post, Cellino was barely heard from, fading into background at the club, with positive decisions taken off the pitch.

The Italian may well have been strongly involved with these, and to his credit he fronted up the money to sign players like Chris Wood, Sol Bamba and Stuart Dallas.

His decision this week to talk to the press and publicly call out Sam Byram was not so smart.

He told The Yorkshire Evening Post: "Sam Byram is the only one that maybe thinks Leeds is too small for him.

“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."

Byram's contract saga has been bubbling under for months, with the youngster having just one year left to run on his contract, with Premier League clubs circling.

His place in the Leeds team is even less than assured at present, with Gaetano Berardi and Jordan Botaka potentially keeping him out of right-back and right-wing spots.

Even so, Cellino knows losing Byram for free would be a disaster for the club financially, and could come back to bite them from a sporting perspective too.

So it appears he is deliberately putting the youngster under pressure to sign, and trying to keep supporters onside.

Yet many will be able to see through what he is doing, even if Cellino's actions are out of pure exasperation with Byram's refusal to commit.

This is a saga best dealt with behind closed doors and not in the press, and it's fair to wonder if this would have happened had Adam Pearson still been at the club.

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