RYAN Leonard has turned down Southend United’s offer of a new contract but has retracted a transfer request to leave Roots Hall.

Shrimpers boss Phil Brown revealed Leonard had expressed a desire to quit the League One club after turning down a new four-year contract.

But Blues chairman Ron Martin - who rejected a £500,000 offer from Sheffield United on Friday for the 25-year-old - told Echosport Leonard has now decided against submitting a transfer request.

“I had a meeting with Ryan on Saturday morning and, after our talk, he chose not to put in a transfer request,” said Martin.

“I’ve spoken to him and he knows this is an important year for us with promotion our main objective.

“With that in mind, we won’t be selling our best players because that would weaken our prospects.

“Ryan is a good character, player and person who I like a lot but he still has a year left and it’s his obligation to honour that.

“He isn’t for sale.”

Leonard, who has been Blues’ player of the year for the past two seasons, is known to be keen to play at a higher level.

And Shrimpers boss Brown felt that was the main reason for the midfielder turning down a new deal.

“We made Ryan a substantial contract offer but he’s chosen to turn it down,” said Brown.

“He wants to play higher than League One and I understand his frustration but we’re saying he’s not for sale.

“He has a year left on his contract and he has to play that for Southend United.”

Leonard has made 236 appearances for the Shrimpers since signing in 2011 following his release from Plymouth Argyle.

However, Brown opted not to include Leonard in his squad for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Braintree Town in a pre-season friendly.

“Ryan’s head is all over the place so I just thought it was for the best if he didn’t play in the game we had on Saturday,” said Brown.

“He had his meeting with the chairman in the morning so I thought I would let him have a couple of days at home to have a think about what he wants to do in the final year of his contract.

“But the club’s position has been consistent throughout and the chairman has told Sheffield United to go away, without being disrespectful.

“I’m happy to hear that because I know how important Ryan is for us.”