Leeds United

Leeds United


Leeds Utd transfers: Phil Hay reveals how Daniel Farke performed major U-turn on deal to re-sign former star

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke did not initially plan to re-sign Sam Byram this summer before performing a rapid U-turn after being completely convinced by the player’s fitness and determination to play a part back at Elland Road.

The Whites are starting to find their feet under Farke following the German’s appointment as their new manager over the summer. Following relegation from the Premier League, Leeds saw an unsettling summer of transfer departures with 15 players from last season’s squad all departing Elland Road.

And with many of their big name players exploiting clauses in their deals to secure moves away in the event of relegation, it left Farke and Co with a lot of sorting out to do and not a lot of time to get it all their issues fixed with the new EFL season getting underway on August 6.

However, Farke used the window wisely, bringing in a total of nine new players before the window officially shut for business on September 1.

With plenty of praise dished out over the arrivals of midfielders Ethan Ampadu and Glen Kamara, as well as striker Joel Piroe, who arrived for a combined total of £24m, little was made over the return to Elland Road of Byram, who was a free agent after leaving Norwich.

Initially brought in to help him build up his fitness and try and secure a move elsewhere, the 30-year-old player – who began his career back with Leeds back in 2012 – soon worked on helping convince Farke he was worth taking on.

Having proved himself over the injury troubles that have blighted his career, Leeds announced Byram had signed a one-year deal on the eve of the new season.

And after scoring his first goal back in Whites colours during Saturday’s convincing 3-0 win over Watford at Elland Road, there are reasons to think Farke and Leeds have made a solid call.

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Sam Byram convinced Leeds he was worth a deal

Picking up the story of how Byram convinced Farke he was worth a deal, Phil Hay, writing in The Athletic, claims that was never originally part of Farke’s plan.

‘It was far from certain that Leeds would give him a deal when Daniel Farke, his former manager at Norwich City, invited him to come and work at Thorp Arch in pre-season. Byram had been released by Norwich, his injury problems a factor in his exit, but he got through United’s schedule without missing a session and the players around him were impressed with his poise and ability.

‘By the time the start of the Championship season drew near, Farke was recommending to Leeds’ board that they table a contract offer. A fit Byram, in Farke’s estimation, would be as good as any left-back in the Championship. A small sample of evidence is yet to contradict him.’

Hay added: ‘At first, the club were wary of the idea of committing to him. The message initially was that Byram was there to get fit and find a club. He had been injured so much during the previous three years that handing him a deal was a risk. He was not the only free agent to appear at United over the summer, with goalkeeper Joe Lumley joining up briefly before moving on to Southampton.

‘But Byram’s success in getting through without breaking down was crucial, and his appearance as a substitute in a friendly against Monaco in July was an obvious hint that Farke was seriously considering taking him on. No matter how much Farke wanted to assist Byram, he did not have the luxury of wasting minutes in pre-season matches on players he had no intention of committing to. Over the next two weeks, a one-year deal was finalised, giving Farke a defender he knew inside out from his time at Norwich.’

Farke got transfer call right

Byram’s return to Leeds was initially met with a luke-warm reaction from the fanbase.

However, with the player covering both at right-back, but more frequently in (problem position) left-back in the opening weeks of the season, few can doubt that Farke got the choice correct.

With the player still building up his fitness, Farke admits he was happy to listen to the 30-year-old when Leeds faced three games in six days last week.

Hay added: ‘The relationship between them was strong enough that last Wednesday, Byram felt able to tell Farke to leave him out of the starting line-up for a goalless draw at Hull City. Leeds were facing three games in a week and Byram’s body is not fully up to it yet.

“Sam’s an experienced player and I trust his choice,” Farke said.

That decision was vindicated with Byram putting in another excellent shift on Saturday as the Hornets were well beaten. Excelling down the left flank, both defensively and offensively, Byram scored a thumping header during the game to prove his return to Leeds is a real feel-good story of the summer at Leeds.

In total, that is his 12th career goal for Leeds; fans will be hoping there is more to come.

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