Speaking to Radio Yorkshire (aired Wednesday, 13:00), former Leeds star Tony Dorigo has explained that he understands what Sam Byram is going through at Elland Road, but has sent a message to the full-back to continue playing well with Leeds.
Dorigo said: “It is difficult when big teams are after you, but what he has to remember is big names want you if you are playing extremely well out on the pitch, and showing them what you can do. You get your head turned, and you need to turn it back and get focused on doing all the things you can for Leeds United.”
Byram has fallen out of favour at Elland Road in recent weeks under Steve Evans, having ended Uwe Rosler’s spell as head coach as only a substitute.
He was not in the matchday squad for the victory over Huddersfield, failed to make it off the bench against Rotherham last weekend, and the full-back was dropped to the Under-21 squad on Monday afternoon.
Many believe this has occurred due to Byram’s apparent unwillingness to sign a new contract with Leeds, with his current deal expiring at the end of this season.
He will be allowed to leave Elland Road for free in the summer, and a number of Premier League sides are reportedly already tracking him ahead of a potential move.
Everton are the most recent club to show an interest in him, with the Daily Mail claiming that they want the full-back, but will not meet Leeds’ £6 million asking price.
With his contract running out, Leeds know they will have to sell him in January, or risk losing him for free in the summer, and they want the academy graduate to sign a new deal so they can maximise the transfer fee received when he inevitably departs Elland Road.
Dorigo understands that the pressure on Byram is high with the big Premier League clubs looking at him, but he has urged the youngster to get back to being focused on Leeds.
Everton showed interest in him because of his good form, and Dorigo has sent a message to Byram to tell him that they will only remain interested if he continues playing well for the Yorkshire club.
A transfer looks inevitable before too long, but playing well for Leeds now is the best thing Byram can do for his own career progression, and for the performance levels of the Whites.