The transfer window can be a real gamble for clubs sometimes. The pressure is on for them to kick on in the New Year and to be seen to be spending to keep pace with their competitors. With a shortage of genuinely skilled players out there in the January window it can create a frenzy with clubs going all in, bidding well over the odds for players. In Sam Byram though, west Ham have a safe bet.
Since Byram made his debut against Shrewsbury Town in the League cup back in 2012 it was clear that he was a star of the future. Still only 22 Byram notched up 143 appearances for Leeds United scoring 10 goals including a couple of vital goals in the last couple of months. He is a solid right back, if a bit reckless at times, but his talent has always been getting forward. Never afraid to take on a player, never afraid to get into the box his attacking style of football is something I will miss.
The issue of Byrams contract has been hanging in the air for a while now. Some may call him greedy for wanting to be in charge of his own destiny come the summer, maximising his potential earnings but I believe he moved for genuine footballing reasons and I can understand why he did not sign a contract. Massimo Cellino was once described to me as “the most disrespectful person I have ever met” by a former club employee and if you went into contract negotiations with him and he offered you a salary lower than your current would you sign? The way Cellino then spoke about Byram in the press, the writing was on the wall.
So Byram moves on to a club with ambition, moving into the Olympic Stadium next year. He could have chosen the history and heritage of Everton but with Seamus Coleman on the scene at Goodison Park he chose West Ham as his best prospect for regular football. I only wish Leeds would show as much ambition. I wish that we were genuine contenders for the promotion, I wish that we held onto our best players and signed better players.
Leeds United feels less and less like Leeds United by the day, Cellino has walked over our history and tradition and our young local players are our last link to our club, they are our future. We need to keep Mowatt, Cook, Taylor but if we do not show ambition I fear they could go the same way as Byram.