Leeds boss Steve Evans will tell the club to put Sam Byram up for sale in the January transfer window if the versatile star doesn’t sign the new deal offered to him by the club.
Byram, 22, who has been linked with the likes of Everton, Sunderland and Southampton in recent months, appears to be coming towards the end of his time at Elland Road after he rejected the club’s offer of an extension over the weekend.
Leeds, who angered Byram’s camp 12 months ago by asking him to take a cut to his £12,000-a-week salary, went back to him last week with a proposal which would have matched his current wage and tied him down to the summer of 2017.
The player, rated in the £7million bracket, is out of contract at the end of the season and Evans is ready to advise Leeds to put him up for sale in January, rather than lose him for a much lesser fee next summer.
The Leeds boss had been keen to tie the player down to a new deal, but his refusal to commit himself to the club – and in the light of criticism from the club’s controversial owner Massimo Cellino – means a parting of ways looks inevitable.
Even if Byram opts to see out his contract and leave next summer, Leeds would be entitled to compensation for their former player-of-the year on account of his age.
“I don’t know if it’s dead,” Evans told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “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. He conducts himself in an extremely professional manner. 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 was included in Evans’ squad for Saturday’s win over Hull City and appeared as a late substitute. He was roundly applauded by the crowd and United’s head coach insisted that he would continue to involve the defender in the run-up to the turn of the year.
Everton and Sunderland are believed to be interested in Byram but Evans said: “This club has demonstrated clearly that they want him to be part of the future.
“I think the contract offer is a more than fair one.
He takes his advice from a number of people and whatever decision he makes I’ll respect it, but we’re not going through January (like this). If he’s still at the club then you’d be thinking that someone needs to come and buy him.”
Byram has played more than 130 times for United since stepping up from their academy in 2012 and he is the leading appearance-maker in the squad at Elland Road.