West Ham United loanee Sam Byram finally returned from an eight-month spell out injured for Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening to start in the Sky Bet Championship defeat away at Sheffield Wednesday. But with his time at the City Ground running out, what do the Hammers do with him in the summer?
There was much promise when Slaven Bilic’s Irons signed a fresh-faced Byram from Leeds United back in January 2016 to combat injury woes.
Ironically, he made his debut against Manchester City just days later after another injury, to Carl Jenkinson, and caught the eye of the Claret & Blue Army at Upton Park, looking comfortable under pressure.
However, the tale since then has been one of frustration, both for those supporters and the player himself, one that leads us to now, him being 25 and on loan in the second tier.
The biggest contributing factor as to why things haven’t worked out so far for the Essex-native in east London is injuries – he’s endured four as a West Ham player keeping him out for a chilling total of 365 days, a whole year.
When Byram has been fit, the former England youth international has really struggled for consistency and to put a decent run of games in the starting Xl together.
As a result of his injuries, his form hasn’t been all that great even when he has been able to play some football – he was last sighted in a West Ham shirt over 13 months now.
With the right-back’s contract running out next summer and no reported negotiations of a new one under Manuel Pellegrini, Byram’s future in east London is in real doubt.
There comes a time in football, especially in the modern game, where some realism is needed, the facts need to be faced and the tough decisions must be made.
That time is now for David Gold and David Sullivan and Byram himself – the club have been patient enough with him and they now have to let go and give up on him.
If West Ham can’t sell the player at the end of the campaign, they’re running the risk of losing him for nothing in the future with very little gained from the original fee of just over £4million. Fans will not stand for that kind of naivety anymore.