Why A Loan Move Away From The Club Would Be Beneficial For West Ham’s Sam Byram
West Ham indluged in a shrewd piece of business as they completed a deal for Pablo Zabaleta over the summer, snapping him up on a free transfer from Manchester City. One might wonder why Slaven Bilic chose to sign Zabaleta when he already had Sam Byram in his ranks. It might seem unnecessary to a lot of people but the truth is that the club suffered endlessly due to their failure in solving their problematic right-back position for several years.
Zabaleta is a more experienced option when compared to Byram, and besides, it was a free transfer. Quite possibly, Bilic did not think of the consequences to would pose for Byram. Despite fans and pundits questioning the move, Zabaleta has managed to silence the doubters. A change of formation has made West Ham more solid of late and Zabaleta has been at the forefront.
When the Hammers signed Sam Byram from Leeds United, the then-22-year-old was touted as one of the most exciting young talents after putting up impressive displays at Elland Road, racking up 143 appearances for the Championship club.
He did quite well for West Ham as well. He joined the club at a time when he was their only recognised option but now with Zabaleta in the fray, things have certainly changed. Now, Byram is struggling for adequate game time at the London Stadium.
In such a situation, the best move for Byram would be a loan spell. Zabaleta is 33 years old, and he has only a couple of years of top-class football left to offer, during which Byram can hope to polish his skills out on loan at a different club.
However, that will also pose a major risk for West Ham. If Zabaleta becomes unavailable due to some reason, Bilic will have no other quality option to turn to. Having said that, if the 24-year-old remains in London without sufficient playing time, both his form and his confidence will take a major dip.
Byram is quite young and is at a stage in his career where he should be playing week in, week out. Unfortunately for the player, Zabaleta has managed to slot seamlessly into Bilic’s side and is going nowhere any time soon.
Then again, Byram could choose to stay where he is and learn from the experienced full-back, with West Ham eventually transitioning from Zabaleta to Byram in a year or two. It may not seem like a lot but an uncertain period of two years can prove to be treacherous for the former Leeds defender.
Thus, a loan move seems to be the ideal option for Byram but it all comes down to whether or not Bilic agrees to take that risk.