It might only be September but it's never too soon for Everton to start looking at areas where the squad can be bolstered. While the left side of defence has been plagued by injury recently, the right has not been spoken much of and that is where Roberto Martinez could be casting his glances.
Birthday boy Sam Byram has seen a bad injury put the brakes on what could have been a high-flying career. The wingback is currently Leeds United's longest serving player, having started in the youth ranks at the age of 16. He first hit the radar of Premier League clubs in 2012-13 when he broke into the United first team, leading to a call-up to the England U-20 squad.
He ended up sweeping the board at the end of the season awards for the West Yorkshire club, winning Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, Players' Player of the Year and the Supporters' Club Player of the Year Awards. Byram was also named as one of Sky Sports Football League Players to watch out for in the Football League.
However a prospective £8 million pound move to Manchester City in the summer fell through following a hip injury, and Leeds signed the wingback to a new three-year contract that will expire this coming summer. The hip injury continued to plague him the coming season as well, and he played in just 27 games.
Southampton made an attempt to sign the player in the 2014-15 season, but their £4.5 million bid was rejected as United under Neil Redfearn attempted to keep the core of the club together. New manager Uwe Rosler has also mentioned Premier League interest in the player in this just-closed transfer window.
The youngster's style of play has been compared to that of Real Madrid's Welsh international Gareth Bale. Byram's running power from the full back position and his playmaking ability from deeper areas has attracted attention from several Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, Swansea City, Newcastle United and Everton. Kop boss Brendan Rodgers has reportedly sent scouts to watch him in action more than six times, but rumours of a £8 million deal haven't seen the light of day. Everton have scant cover for Seamus Coleman at the right back position and could also be involved in the conversation for the young Englishman.
Toffees will remember Byram from his key role for Leeds in the pre-season friendly the day before Duncan Ferguson's testimonial when the player assisted in the opening goal, before narrowly lobbing over Joel's bar in a 2-0 win. Byram is currently lining up as a right forward as Rosler attempts to showcase his talents, but new contract talks have been derailed by Premier League interest and Leeds could attempt to sell to the highest buyer come January. The player could do worse than look at the Everton setup where youth like John Stones and Brendan Galloway have been given opportunities to develop in the youth sides and are plying their trade at the highest level now.