Nottingham Forest loanee Sam Byram might have to make a decision on his West Ham future this summer.
According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League side are set to make a move for Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia. This is if Pablo Zabaleta decides to retire at the end of the season.
If this is the case, then Byram’s chances of first team football at the Olympic Stadium look limited. He may have to leave the Hammers in order to seek a fresh start elsewhere.
However, since joining on loan, Byram has only made three appearances for the Reds. He’s always been prone to injury throughout his career, and this has unfortunately remained the case at the City Ground.
The 25-year-old picked up a long-term knee injury in the win over Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup. He is yet to recover from that setback. According to Paul Taylor of the Nottingham Post, he is likely to return at some point in March.
In this case, the Reds will have to make a decision on whether to try and sign the right-back on a permanent deal or not in a few months. Due to his injury history, it would be a gamble, but is it a gamble worth taking?
Byram looked a class act
Despite making only three appearances, Byram’s quality was there for all to see. He looked as though he was just starting to get going before he picked up his injury. His cross for Daryl Murphy’s opening goal against Newcastle showed just what he is capable of.
The Reds may well have been better off this season had Byram been able to stay fit. He was deemed to be one of the most promising youngsters in the Championship whilst at Leeds United. If it wasn’t for his injury struggles, he would be playing regularly for a Premier League outfit.
As West Ham paid a considerable fee to secure Byram’s services on a four-and-a-half year deal in 2016, it’s unlikely that they’ll let him leave on the cheap. It does seem unlikely that he’ll be in Manuel Pellegrini’s plans for next season though, especially with Ryan Fredericks performing so well.
If there aren’t any parties interested in taking the risk of signing Byram on a permanent deal, then another loan may be the best option. If this is the case, then the Reds should definitely register their interest.
Byram will be hoping he can yet force his way into Martin O’Neill’s side before the end of the season and prove his fitness. Not only this, but he may be able to convince the club to invest in him in the summer on a permanent basis.
Byram will want his future sorted as soon as possible so he can get a good pre-season under his belt. There’s no doubt that the right-back would be an asset next season if he can stay fit.