Byram on the brink as he refuses latest offer
Monday, 7th Dec 2015 14:06 by Tim Whelan
Sam Byram has been told that he will be leaving the club in January if he doesn’t accept a revised offer for an extension to his current contract. Everton and Sunderland have already shown interest.
Byram’s current deal will expire at the end of the season, and initially he was told that he would have to accept a cut in his current wages (believed to be £12,000 a week). It’s understandable that he refused to accept that, given that it’s long been suggested that a couple of Premiership clubs are looking at him, but Massimo Cellino reacted by saying he was “deeply offended and hurt” and that Byram now thought that Leeds were too small for him.
Despite this outburst Leeds came back with an improved offer of keeping Byram on his current salary till the summer of 2017, yet there is still no indication that the 22 year-old intends to sign on the dotted line. Leeds are not expected to make a further offer at a time when the club needs to keep the wage bill under control.
Now Steve Evans has suggested the club should look to sell Byram next month if a new deal hasn’t been agreed by then. He told the Yorkshire Post “I don’t know if it’s dead. I want Sam to have a week or two where we’re not discussing (his future) on a daily basis – where Sam gets the time to think really hard about whether he wants to leave this club.”
“I’ll make it clear when we get to January that if he doesn’t want to commit his future, I don’t want him around. We want players who want to be here. He’s not going to sit around and be a bit-part player. He’s got too much in the locker for that. He’s a young man who I’ve got the utmost respect for. But (players) have to want to be here. I don’t care who they are. If they don’t want to be here we don’t want them around. But he’s a wee while away from that yet.”
Byram is being left out of the starting line-up while this uncertainty continues, but he was a late substitute on Saturday, and Evans has promised that he will still be involved in the squad while he remains at the club. He’s been a very popular figure amongst the fans so far, being a local lad and a product of the famous youth academy.
And his 130 games to date make him the leading appearance-maker in the squad, though that tells you as much about our rapid turnover of players as it does about Byram. So most of us would be sad to see him go, but would it be the right decision to sell him if the price was right? Everton and Sunderland are said to have taken note of his situation, and could be tempted to make bids for him in the new year.
Most of us would still give him a start rather than playing Wooton as a makeshift right-back, but we will soon have other options in that position. Beradi will be back from suspension soon, and highly rated academy defender Lewis Coyle can’t be too far away from making his first team debut. So we might have to reluctantly accept that the best decision would be to pick up the cash, as long as the proceeds are used to strengthen the squad in other positions.
Leeds would still get a compensation package for Byram if he left in the summer (due to his age) but we may well get a higher fee if we sold him in January. Steve Evans has already said he is looking to make substantial changes to his squad next month, and if we get a decent transfer fee for Byram that will help to bring in the players he needs to take us away from the wrong end of the table.
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