First up, Sam Byram is a fantastic football talent and has been a fantastic player for Leeds United – that is beyond the pale. However, with a new contract not being agreed, is it now a case of Byram or buy someone?
Firstly, Byram’s contribution to Leeds United should be noted; after all, he is the longest-serving player at the club. Since breaking into the first team set-up during the 20112/13 Championship campaign, Byram has made 129 appearances for the Whites, scoring nine goals and providing 12 assists. However, it’s not just these headline figures that catch the eyes of potential suitors for his services, Sam Byram is much more than that. Firstly, he is a more than capable right back, the position where he made his Leeds United breakthrough, and it’s what else he is that makes him such a mouth-watering prospect for teams courting his services.
As a proposition, Byram’s stock rises for interested parties with a couple of other positives: his attacking drive and his versatility. The Thurrock-born youngster has displayed versatility this season by playing all the way up the right flank from his natural right back position, through to right midfield and beyond to a more advanced right wing role. This move up the right has been facilitated by Byram’s ability to get himself into the right positions to score and also show the right skills to deliver runs and balls that not only drive the Leeds team forward but also put teammates into good positions.
It is this complementary skill set that has seem Byram to be reputedly one of the most sought after young talents in the Championship, especially as there is still the wrangle regarding his doggedness in not signing new terms at Elland Road. Seemingly five Premier League teams have Byram firmly fixed in their sights with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Premier League surprise team Leicester City amongst the quintet mentioned that is rounded out with interest from Norwich City, Crystal Palace and West Ham.
Byram’s contract situation meant that he wasn’t getting game time, Leeds boss Steve Evans feeling that the youngster was unsettled and not in the right frame of mind to feature for the Whites as he [Evans] “wasn’t seeing the performances in training“. However, Byram’s three goal spurt in his last five games, including a brace against Wolves in a 3-2 away win, have served to further pique interest in the former Academy product. In fact, Byram’s performances over the last five games have served to firmly put him in the shop window so-to-speak.
However, despite the rumoured interest from the Premier League big boys, Leeds boss Steve Evans is refusing to kow-tow to the demands of the teams said to be interested in the right-sided utility player saying that any deal, “has to be right first and fremost for Leeds and that young man.”
Leeds fans need to realise that it is definite that Sam Byram will not be a Leeds United player next season with Steve Evans saying of Byram that, “He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to extend his contract beyond the summer,” in an interview on Sky Sports Network. What consolation Leeds fans can take is that his form is likely to nudge a team into buying him in January and, even if he leaves on a free transfer after this season, as he is under 24 then Leeds United will be able to claim compensation from whomsoever he signs for.