Charlie Taylor insisted last night that his contract dispute with Leeds United was not affecting his on-field commitment, despite admitting that he could not be certain if the club planned to keep him beyond the end of the end of the transfer window.
Speaking for the first time since submitting a transfer request last month, Leeds’ reigning player of the year appeared to reiterate his desire to leave Elland Road, saying the club “know what I want”, but he promised to “put in 100 per cent” if United stuck to their plan to retain him until the end of his existing deal.
Taylor, 22, is out of contract next summer and formally asked for a move after Leeds and owner Massimo Cellino accused him of refusing to enter into talks about a new deal.
The transfer request was turned down by Cellino three days before the start of the Championship season and Taylor has featured in all five competitive games since then, including a 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
The left-back’s situation is a part of a long-standing fall-out between Cellino and Colin Pomford, the agent who represents Taylor and who also acted on behalf of Sam Byram during the bitter negotiations which led to Byram’s £3.7m sale to West Ham United in January.
Leeds’ plan to keep Taylor this month regardless of the fact that FIFA rules would allow the highly-rated defender to move abroad for free at the end of this season.
United would be entitled to a fee in compensation if Taylor joined an English club but stand to earn considerably more from a transfer in this window. West Bromwich Albion are among the clubs most seriously interested in him.
Asked if he expected to be a Leeds player come September, Taylor said: “I don’t know. Whether I am or I aren’t, I’ll still be putting in 100 per cent for Leeds when I’m on the pitch. I’ll take it game by game and whatever happens happens. I’ve got 100 per cent faith in my agent and he takes hold of all the off-field stuff.
“Obviously I’m contracted until the end of this season so if the club don’t want to sell me then I’m under contract. It’s up to them and their decision. If they keep me then I’ll be here until then. I think Leeds know what I want but it’s up to the club.”
Head coach Garry Monk has shown consistent faith in Taylor, a former academy player who has been first-choice left-back at Elland Road for the past year-and-a-half.
Taylor admitted that he was looking forward to next week’s FIFA deadline, saying: “Once the transfer window’s closed
“I’ll either not be at Leeds or definitely will be at Leeds.
“Then I can get my head around the fact either way and concentrate on the football. It’s hard at the minute with what’s going on.
“The gaffer has been brilliant. He’s said he understands and said that he’s got 100 per cent faith in me whenever he picks me. Whatever happens, I’ll do the best I can.”
Leeds have struggled to hang onto their academy products in recent years and Lewis Cook followed Byram out of Leeds in a £10m move to Bournemouth in July. Alex Mowatt, meanwhile, remains in talks about a new deal with his contract due to expire at the same time as Taylor’s.
United’s prospects for this season were heavily played down by the first week of the campaign and a return of one point from the club’s first three league games but Saturday’s derby win at Hillsborough was a huge shot in the arm for Monk and his players.
“Sheffield Wednesday are one of the promotion favourites and we’ve gone and turned them over at their own place,” Taylor said.
“We’ve made a good few signings and there’s no reason why we can’t get up there in the table. At the start of the season the gaffer said top six and if you’re not aiming for the top six then there’s no point in going out there every week.”