Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has offered an apology to Everton after Sam Byram snubbed them at the 11th hour and agreed instead to join West Ham.
Everton last week agreed an initial £3.7m deal with the Championship club for the 22-year-old, who discussed a proposed move with manager Roberto Martinez and the personal terms on offer at Goodison Park. However, the prospect of more regular first-team football under Slaven Bilic is understood to be behind Byram’s decision to join West Ham, who have offered Leeds less than the fee agreed with Everton.
Byram will travel down to London on Tuesday to undertake a medical with the Hammers before finalising the transfer to Upton Park.
Cellino, the Leeds owner, confirmed: “I’m really sorry for Everton because they really acted like gentlemen, but Sam chose West Ham.”
Martinez acknowledged on Friday that Everton faced serious competition from other Premier League clubs for the Leeds academy graduate, who has operated in midfield this season under Steve Evans but is regarded as a more natural defender.
While Everton have Seamus Coleman established at right-back, albeit injured at present, West Ham have problems in that position with central defender James Tomkins deployed at full-back recently ahead of on-loan Carl Jenkinson.