Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has accused Sam Byram of thinking the Elland Road club is “not big enough for him” with the 22-year-old refusing to sign a new contract.
Cellino attacked Byram and his agent after conceding that the club’s academy product was a likely to leave next summer following unsuccessful negotiations over an extended deal.
Leeds and Byram have been at odds over his contract since the club approached him for talks before Christmas and made an offer which would have amounted to a cut in the player’s weekly wage.
Those terms were rejected out of hand during an angry meeting between Cellino and Byram’s agent at Elland Road.
Negotiations resumed last month ahead of the summer transfer deadline but the two sides have failed to reach an agreement and no further discussions are currently planned.
Cellino told Sky Sports: “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.
“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.”
Leeds addressed both of Byram’s regular positions yesterday by tying right-back Gaetano Berardi to a longer contract and agreeing a deal to sign Sunderland winger Will Buckley on loan.
Byram, who in in the last 12 months of a three-year deal, has continued to play for Leeds amid the wrangling but head coach Uwe Rosler admitted that his form was being affected by speculation about his future.
Rosler said: “To be honest, the transfer window has affected him like it affects many other players who’ve been in similar situations at other clubs. We aren’t the only club who’ve faced that problem.
“Sam’s a good guy and he always dealt with it in a professional manner. He tried his best in the way he committed himself and the way he played.”
Byram - a former player of the year at Leeds - is the leading appearance maker in Rosler’s squad having played 127 times.
His agent has been asked to respond to Cellino’s comments.