Does Cellino plan to cash-in before cashing out? TSS April 7, 2015 Leeds United 29 Comments Recent events at Elland Road, particularly the sacking (suspension technically, but that’s entirely semantic in this case) of Assistant Head Coach Steve Thompson and resignation of Nicola Salerno suggest all is not well at the club. The official club line (or rather, Massimo Cellino’s version of events) has it that Steve Thompson was sacked for swearing at Nicola Salerno following a Leeds United win and it was Salerno himself who made the decision, but it’s a version of events I believe to be wholly inaccurate. Salerno, an Italian man who arrived soon after Massimo Cellino’s takeover, was well-liked by staff at Elland Road and his resignation soon after being named by the club for Thompson’s sacking is said to be the reason he walked away; a protest of sorts after being scapegoated for a decision he played no part in. As for the real reason Thompson was sacked, this would appear to be nothing more than petty jealousy. Leeds United’s owner was unhappy with Neil Redfearn for communicating less with him since the arrival of Thompson so sought to clip his wings. The stories I’ve heard cast Cellino, who’s supposedly banned from exerting any control over the club, as a man consumed by paranoia and jealousy, deliberately undermining the authority of his own Head Coach – and in so doing, destabilising the club itself – in a pathetic attempt to reestablish himself as the centre of attention. But there may be a silver-lining to Cellino’s control issues, for the Italian recognises the difficulty in retaining control while battles with The Football League continue so is now seeking to sell the club according to recent reports. However, as always seems to be the case with Leeds United, there could also be a catch. Concern now turns to worryingly-timed transfer rumours of key players being linked with moves away – sales that would undoubtedly be opposed by Neil Redfearn making the move to weaken his position doubly beneficial. Sam Byram has today been linked with a move to Liverpool while Alex Mowatt was scouted by Hull City at yesterday’s game. Interest in both was perhaps inevitable, but the timing of these links is nonetheless suspicious. It would, from a purely financial point of view, make absolute sense for Massimo Cellino to cash-in on the big money players before heading for the exit. They should be factored into the value of the football club but the nature of footballer’s contracts, risk of injury and high possibility of not being able to sell means the value of players on an asset sheet is potentially much less than what the likes of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt would realistically sell for at this point in time. If, for example, Massimo Cellino can secure £20m in player sales, the club will sell for around £30m regardless, meaning he can walk away with much more than he otherwise would have. At this point, some of you are no doubt questioning my own levels of paranoia and there’s probably a degree of that given all we’ve been through and the total lack of trust I have in those running the club. What’s undeniable is how big a mistake it would be for Leeds United to sell any of our youngsters. To waste another generation of kids who could potentially lead us to great things would be disastrous. These kids would run through walls for Neil Redfearn, they have a very close bond with each other and a genuine affinity towards the club itself. It’s rare you find a group this good – and it could be a long time until we do so again.