Leeds United: "Lewis Cook is not for sale" says owner Massimo Cellino

Lewis Cook
Lewis Cook
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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino categorically ruled out the sale of Lewis Cook last night amid rumours that Bournemouth had reached a deal for the midfielder.

Cellino insisted he was “not selling Cook” and said the England youth international was happy to stay in Leeds after Bournemouth were strongly linked with a multi-million pound bid for him.

Head coach Steve Evans reiterated his owner's stance this morning, revealing that United had received two offers for Cook but insisting he was "not going to be sold in this window"

Cook is a major target of Bournemouth's - promoted to the Premier League last season - and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has spoken to Evans about the midfielder on a number of occasions in the past month.

The York-born 18-year-old is six months into a new two-year contract at Elland Road having committed his short-term future to the club in May but his performances in the Championship this season have attracted interest from several sides, including Stoke City and Manchester United.

Evans confirmed Bournemouth’s interest in an interview with Sky on Wednesday, saying: “It doesn't surprise me that Eddie Howe is interested. He (Cook) has got absolutely everything.

'We want to keep him but when it gets to the realms of that money we’re talking there is only one man who will decide and that’s the president.”

Asked if a deal to sell Cook was in place, Cellino told the YEP: "Not true. I'm not selling Cook. He is happy in Leeds and I'm proud of him.”

Speaking today, Evans said: "There's no doubt that there's very solid interest in him but I had a strategy meeting with the president yesterday and Lewis Cook is simply not going anywhere. There are no more conversations to have about Lewis Cook.

"The president's in receipt of some offers and he's said to me that we only get into real discussion if he's maybe of thinking of accepting it. It was very clear that he had no interest in accepting either of them.

"I think every player in the world's for sale but this isn't about putting up any player as an option. He's not going to be sold in this window."

Cook, an England Under-19 international, is part of a crop of academy produced youngsters who have underpinned United’s football in the past 18 months.

Another of them, Sam Byram, is widely expected to move on from Elland Road in the January transfer window having turned down an offer to extend a contract which ends in the summer. United are yet to accept a bid for him, however, despite interest from Everton and West Ham United.

Everton - an option which Byram is believed favour - appear to be in the market for a right-back after losing Seamus Coleman for to a calf strain this week.

Evans said: "Again, there's a lot of interest in Sam. One or two clubs have had conversations with our president but that's a long way off from being concrete enough for anything to happen."