West Ham have beaten Everton to the signature of full-back Sam Byram, 22, from Championship club Leeds United.
The West London club confirmed the deal today via their official Twitter account, using the hashtag #SamIsAHammer.
— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) January 20, 2016
The right-back, who can also be deployed in a right midfield role, arrived at his new club this afternoon after a deal costing just £3.7 million. (Daily Express)
Byram managed more than 100 appearances for boyhood club Leeds, where he graduated from the academy in 2012 at the age of 18. A cornerstone of United’s first-team ever since, he has cultivated a reputation as one of the Championship’s brightest English prospects.
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan lavished praise on his new signing, trumpeting the right-back’s attacking credentials and stating he could be future England international material. For his part, Byram revealed he is looking forward to plying his trade in the Premier League and linking up with Hammers manager Slaven Bilic. (West Ham Twitter account)
The Liverpool Echo states that Everton also held talks with the young defender over the weekend, but received no definitive answer to their offer.
The sticking point is said to have been that Merseyside club were unwilling to promise Byram first team football. Everton boss Roberto Martínez instead saw him as a long-term alternative to first-choice right-back Sheamus Coleman. However, West Ham managed to outflank the Toffees by convincing Byram that he would have an immediate place in their starting eleven.
Although Everton have accepted the player’s final decision, Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino is reportedly far from happy with the situation. The Yorkshire Post revealed yesterday that Everton were offering £1.3 million more in transfer add-ons than their London rivals, but that the defender’s reluctance to move to the Merseyside club had forced the Leeds hierarchy to permit the transfer.
Massimo Cellino has confirmed that Sam Byram has chosen West Ham over Everton, even though the Blues offered Leeds more money.
— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) January 18, 2016