Dominic Poleon has accused Leeds United of reneging on an offer of a new contract just days before a transfer to Oldham Athletic which left him “confused and disappointed.”
Poleon said he had expected to sign an extended deal last weekend and then join Oldham on a season-long loan but his career at Elland Road ended abruptly before Monday’s transfer deadline with a £100,000 move to Boundary Park.
The striker, 20, parted company with Leeds late on Monday night, agreeing a two-year deal with Oldham in the final hour of FIFA’s summer transfer window.
He quit United – the club where he turned professional in 2010 – after 37 first-team appearances and described the switch to Oldham as a “great opportunity for regular football.”
But he admitted that his permanent departure from Leeds had come as shock, claiming the terms of a new deal negotiated between him and Leeds were lowered without explanation over the weekend.
Poleon said he feared that club owner Massimo Cellino would try to isolate him from if he remained at Elland Road without signing the contract and revealed that he submitted a transfer request on Monday afternoon in an attempt to secure a temporary transfer to Oldham.
“It’s hard to explain how it came to this because I wasn’t supposed to go,” Poleon said. “I’d agreed a new contract with the club and as far as I was concerned it was sorted last Friday. The plan was to sign it and then join Oldham on loan for the season.
“Over the weekend I got a call to tell me that Cellino was taking the contract away from me. I don’t know why. I’d agreed one thing but was being offered another and it was basically the case that if I didn’t sign it, I wouldn’t be going on loan to Oldham.
“My view was that I’d stick with the contract I already had and go to Oldham on loan anyway because all I wanted to do was play – and that’s what the club wanted too. But it was clear by Monday lunchtime that nothing was happening so I put in a transfer request to try and get things moving.
“Leeds rejected the request and it seemed to me that I was going to be kept here and not involved. I won’t lie – I thought I’d be made to do nothing for a year.
But then late on I got another call saying Oldham had bid for me and I was getting sold. By then I thought it was best to go.”
Poleon had a year left on his contract at Elland Road and was used in all but one of United’s competitive fixtures last month.
Leeds signed five forwards in the transfer window, however, and prepared initially to send him to Boundary Park on a temporary basis.
Striker Matt Smith, who joined Fulham from Leeds on Monday evening, told the YEP how United had complied a list of six players who they were willing to sell before the transfer deadline but Poleon insisted his name wasn’t on it.
“As far as I know, I’ve never done anything to upset Cellino,” Poleon said. “I’ve got no arguments with the club and I’m sad to leave because Leeds are the club where I grew up. I can’t believe the way this transfer manifested itself.
“I’m confused about what went on and I’m disappointed. If I’d annoyed Cellino then fine but we had a contract agreed last week. I was told that he liked me, that he rated me and that he thought I had talent but it’s hard to take that seriously now. How can he think a lot of me and then act like he did? It doesn’t make sense.
“I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people at Leeds and it’s really sad to have left. But Oldham have been very good to me and it’s a great opportunity for regular football.”
Poleon is expected to make his debut for Oldham at home to Fleetwood Town tomorrow, a game against the club who are second in League Two.
“Slowly but surely you’ve got to move on,” Poleon said. “You can’t dwell on things, no matter how you feel about them. This is a new chapter for me and I’m proud to have had my time at Leeds.”