LEEDS UNITED owner Massimo Cellino has delivered a stinging farewell to Ross McCormack after the striker signed for Fulham yesterday, breaking the transfer record for deals outside the Premier League.
Jordan Rhodes’s £8m switch from Huddersfield Town to Blackburn Rovers in 2012 was the previous highest, but McCormack has moved to Craven Cottage in a switch worth close to £11m.
It brought an end to the striker’s four-year stay at Elland Road, with United president Cellino accusing McCormack of being “disrespectful” and forcing his departure from Leeds.
The Scotland international has signed a four-year deal at Craven Cottage, with the option of a further 12 months, and will return to play Leeds when Fulham travel to Elland Road for a Championship game on December 13.
Cellino said he had secured a “very high price” for McCormack and described the striker – who scored 29 goals for Leeds last season – as a “bloody good player”, but did not hold back in his criticism of the 27-year-old.
“All the way through, he was rude to me, difficult with me,” said Cellino, who confirmed the signings of goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi shortly after sanctioning the sale of McCormack.
“He wanted to leave, there is no doubt. This summer it was not in my mind to sell Ross McCormack, but he wanted to go so he has gone to Fulham.
“He’s a bloody good player and I’m not going to pretend that he isn’t, but he didn’t respect me and it wasn’t possible to keep him. He said he would stay and honour his contract, he said he only wanted to go to a top Premier League club – and now he’s at Fulham. I don’t understand it.”
The relationship between McCormack and Cellino broke down rapidly last month, with the player submitting a transfer request and then failing to join up with United’s squad for their pre-season tour of Italy.
Writing on Instagram last night, McCormack said: “New start. Thanks for the good wishes. Devastated to be leaving Leeds under a cloud after 4 thoroughly enjoyable years. Will always be a fan!”