Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has dropped the strongest hit yet that Steve Evans will not be retained as manager after claiming the club need a "special" individual to take the club forward. Evans is on a six month rolling contract at Elland Road but is still to be informed whether the deal will be extended or is he is surplus to requirements.
Evans guided the Whites to 13th in the Championship last season, 15 points off a play-off place and has grand designs ahead of next term to improve his squad and inspire promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 2004. But those plans have been stifled by a breakdown in communication with Cellino – who is yet to provide any guarantees over his future.
But the Italian owner, who could face punishment over the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham after being hit by a charge by The Football Association, has suggested for the first time Leeds could start the campaign with a new manager. Cellino admits he is under pressure to get the decision over the new boss correct.
"I have a good feeling," he said, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post. "I cannot make a mistake this time. My players need someone special. After all the things the fans have said about me, now they will start to understand. Next year, we'll play football."
Having indicated that a new manager could arrive at Leeds ahead of next term, Evans is now consigned to being shown the door by Cellino. However, with his own career to think about the ex-Rotherham United boss is eager for answers as he contemplates his next move.
"After lots of press calls again today and a further meeting with my advisors it is very obvious the time has arrived for Mr Cellino to tell me I am not his head coach for next season," Evans told Sky Sports. "Out of respect for this great football clubs history and to the Leeds United supporters I will take that decision with good grace.
"This is a special football club, it should have standards of excellence in everything it does. The task is huge next season. The Championship is stronger than the one about to conclude at Wembley on Saturday. I now need to accept that I open my mind up to other options for my career. Obviously I now need to know the direction of my career, in summary I just need closure."