Brian McDermott says he and Massimo Cellino will need “mutual respect” and a “really tight” relationship if he and Leeds United’s prospective new owner are to work together at Elland Road.
McDermott spoke openly about his expectations of Cellino, the man who attempted to sack him last week, as the Italian closed in on a 75 per cent takeover of Leeds. Reports that Cellino had sold Serie A club Cagliari yesterday were the latest sign that he is finalising his plans to buy out Gulf Finance House and establish himself as majority shareholder at United.
A takeover by Cellino, 57, would have obvious implications for McDermott after Cellino failed with an attempt to dismiss United’s manager a week ago.
McDermott was sacked during a telephone call from Chris Farnell, a lawyer representing Cellino, but GFH rapidly reinstated him, claiming Cellino had no power to change managers until his takeover was complete.
The Football League could yet block Cellino’s deal but his £25m bid is unlikely to be matched in the days ahead with the rival Together Leeds consortium struggling to talk GFH into an alternative deal.
McDermott gave the impression that he was already preparing himself for Cellino’s arrival, saying: “Whoever takes the club over, if I’m going to be manager then we have to work together. That goes both ways.
“I have to work with whoever the owner is and the owner has to work with me. The relationship between the owner and the manager is key.
“Mutual respect is so important for me. If I get respect I’ll give respect. Whoever the owner might be, that’s the criteria and it’s very simple.
“If Mr Cellino owns the club, it’s very important that the manager and the owner have respect and they get on and work together. The manager and the owner are the most important relationship at a club. It’s got to be really tight.
“But I want to be Leeds United manager and whatever it takes for us to be successful, that’s my agenda. I’ll do whatever I have to. And as long as there’s mutual respect, I’ll have no problem at all.”
Together Leeds, a group led by ex-Manchester United International managing director Mike Farnan, have taken the unusual step of approaching the Football League for assistance after failing to make progress with their attempts to agree a sale with GFH.
Farnan’s consortium want the Football League to mediate, claiming GFH is obstructing meaningful negotiations and refusing to accept proof of funds from the group.
Cellino, however, is pushing the governing body for approval of his takeover and is expected to fly back to England from his home in Miami on Wednesday.