Leeds United: Left-back Charlie Taylor defends decision to quit the Whites
Charlie Taylor has defended his departure from Leeds United as a decision he 'had to make' after signing a four-year contract at Burnley.
The left-back was unveiled by Burnley this morning, bringing to an end the controversial saga which marred the final stage of Taylor’s 14-year career at Elland Road.
Taylor was out of contract at Leeds and free to negotiate terms with rival clubs but United will be paid compensation by Burnley due to Taylor being under the age of 24.
Speaking to Burnley’s official website, Taylor said: “It’s my first move permanently away from Leeds so it’s something different for me but something I can’t wait to crack on with.
“I’ve been there since I was nine and I knew it was the right time. There were so many things that attracted me to Burnley; it ticks every box and it was a no-brainer.”
His fee is likely to be decided by tribunal after Burnley failed to agree a valuation with Leeds prior to Taylor moving to Turf Moor. The two clubs held fresh talks last weekend but Burnley said today that the fee was “yet to be determined”.
West Bromwich Albion pulled out of a deal to sign Taylor last month amid fears that a tribunal ruling would lead to a steep compensation payment. Leeds value Taylor in excess of £5m and believe a tribunal award could rise to as much as £7m.
In a statement, Leeds said: “Compensation has yet to be agreed for the player, should an agreement not be made, we will enter into a tribunal process. We wish Charlie well for the future.”
The money gained from Taylor’s exit will soften the blow of losing an academy product who won the club’s player-of-the-year award in 2016 and made more than 100 appearances for the club.
The defender’s future came into question last summer when he submitted a transfer request after declining invitations from then Leeds owner Massimo Cellino to discuss an extension to the three-year deal he signed in 2014.
United rejected that request and turned down interest from West Brom and Crystal Palace in the January transfer window, opting to retain Taylor until the end of his contract with the club in the running for promotion from the Championship.
Taylor was affected by an Achilles injury over Christmas but returned in the latter stages of the term before controversially refusing to play in United’s last game of the season at Wigan Athletic, an apparent attempt to avoid injury with a move to the Premier League pending.
Leeds disciplined the full-back, who was described by then head coach Garry Monk as “naive” and “terribly advised”, but the club offered him a new two-year deal to ensure their right to compensation.
Despite widespread criticism of his refusal to travel to Wigan, Taylor said: “Last season was definitely a positive one for Leeds. It didn’t end too great, missing out on the play-offs, but there’s a lot of positives to take from that. It was a tough decision in the end to leave but one I had to make.
“It’s nice to hear some nice comments from Leeds fans. I was there a long time and it’s sad to leave but I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”