Rumours linking Sam Byram with a move to the Premier League have got Leeds fans divided once again. On one hand, selling him would bring in a nice £4 million plus. On the other hand, we would be losing a player who has the potential to become a very good player. He has already made over 80 first-team appearances, at the age of just 20. He was our best player in his first professional season for the White’s, even winning goal of the season with his solo effort against Oxford United. Yes he didn’t have the best second season, but you can blame that on injury. Saying that, even when he was fit Brian McDermott didn’t want to replace Peltier.
You always hear people saying every player has his price – yes they do, but this isn’t the point. Surely selling McCormack for £11 million makes selling any other player we have for money irrelevant? Byram has become a fans favourite since coming into the first-team, and it would be such a shame to see him move on in a transfer window when we’re supposed to be improving the team. We won’t sign another right-back who is as good as or better than Sam. We’ve got Berardi but making the transition from Italian football to English football isn’t always an easy process, it could take plenty of time before we see the best of a player who has made one appearance for Switzerland. He’s also suspended for the next three games so selling Byram before then would leave us with no recognised player on the right side of defence.
He’s also versatile and can play in a number of positions. When played on the wing he looked brilliant, especially given at times he was caught out when played at full-back but we’ll blame that on youth and inexperience. He also looked decent when fielded in the wing-back role in our 5-3-2 days. I’ve always thought Sam would be a great central midfielder but we haven’t seen him given the chance there yet and with our central midfield packed it doesn’t look like we’ll see him played in that role anytime soon.
You’ve seen players make the move to football’s top-level at an early age and then fade away, this could happen with Sam. Then again, if he was to move to one of Sunderland or Southampton he would still play plenty of games, so it wouldn’t hamper his development. My personal feeling is that I don’t want to see him leave, I’d be devastated – more gutted than I was when McCormack left. He has so much to offer and he’s been at the club since 2005, it would be Howson all over again. At the end of the day, money talks in football and if a club meets the player’s valuation then it’s inevitable that he’ll be sold, and if Byram himself wants to leave and move to a higher division then who would deny him that chance?