Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook's contract expires in June 2017.
Leeds United boss Steve Evans talked up youngster Lewis Cook at his pre-Brighton press conference, describing him as 'un-buyable' if he adds further goals to his game.
Yet the head coach can talk a big game and owner Massimo Cellino can resist offers in the summer, but if they fail in their contract negotiations then Cook's future will play out in an awfully familiar circumstance.
Evans is quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post today (26/02/2016) as stating: "If Lewis Cook adds goals to his game he becomes un-buyable for clubs in the Premier League. I've said to Lewis, I don't care if you hit the Kop, you have got to have some strikes at goal. There were 4 or 5 clubs that wanted Lewis Cook. But the president said 'Lewis Cook is still getting better."
The central midfielder currently has a contract which is set to expire in June 2017. If that seems a long way off, it's not. By time next January comes around, Cook will be in the exact same situation as Sam Byram was last month, and his future quickly became an issue of where, not if, he would go.
The defender is enjoying his new start at West Ham, and Lewis Cook would have no trouble adapting to Premier League football if it came his way.
Leeds need to act quickly, and successfully, to tie him down, and not take any more risks. Another poor start to the season combined with an unsigned contract will have Cook questioning his own future, and speculation will mount.
The Whites can't afford for that to happen, and must get Cook signed up. If they can do so, then other young talent like Charlie Taylor may follow in signing an extension, and supporters will begin feeling a bit more positive again.
With Cook signed up to an extension, Evans would be right, but whether he adds goals to his game or not, he would be un-buyable because with commitment shown to the club, and financial improvements at Elland Road, there would be no reason to cash in.