Slaven Bilic explains what he told Sam Byram after signing from Leeds

Slaven Bilic

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic says he's 'delighted' to have signed Sam Byram from Leeds United.

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic has told The Mirror that he is 'delighted' to have secured the signature of Leeds United's Sam Byram - and told the player that he will improve as a Hammer.

Byram, 22, became West Ham's first January signing on Wednesday afternoon, penning a four-and-a-half year deal at Upton Park.

The Essex-born youngster, who can play at right back or on the right of midfield, comes from a family of West Ham fans, and will now look to make an impact in the Premier League in the famous claret and blue shirt.

It's unclear whether Byram will play any role in the game against Manchester City this weekend, but he looks to have a bright future ahead of him in the top flight, having impressed after coming up through the ranks at Leeds.

Today, his new manager Slaven Bilic spoke to the press ahead of that game against Manchester City, and was asked about the signing of Byram.

Sky Sports reported last week that Byram looked to be joining Everton, before West Ham swooped in to steal him away and take him to East London instead.

However, Bilic told The Mirror today that West Ham have been pursuing Byram for a long time, and it wasn't simply reacting to Everton's interest in the player.

Bilic also added that he told Byram upon signing that he can improve him at Upton Park, because he loves working with young players and helping them develop.

"We didn't react on Everton's interest," said Bilic. "We have been tracking Sam for a long time. Not only Everton but other clubs wanted him we didn't just jump in after we heard other clubs were interested – although according to TV, he was close to signing for Everton."

"We were going under the radar and were thinking about Sam more for next season. We have Carl Jenkinson on loan from Arsenal this season and other options in that position."

"I told Sam that I like young players, I told him that he can improve, I didn't promise him anything, no guarantees – but he found out we were watching him for a long time and that we were serious about him and had big plans for him. We are delighted to have him, he is a talented home-grown player," he added.

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