By Alex Stevens
Aston Villa and Tottenham have joined the race to sign Leeds star Sam Byram, Football Insider sources understand.
The Premier League clubs are interested in signing the versatile 22-year-old, who enhanced his growing reputation by scoring a late equaliser for his team in their 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
The versatile 22-year-old has refused to sign a new contract and is expected to move on during the transfer window, with Liverpool at the head of a queue of Premier League clubs looking to acquire his services at a relatively knock-down price.
A source close to Byram has told Football Insider that Aston Villa and Tottenham are also keen on acquiring the services of the player, who can play at full-back or in midfield.
“Sam has a decision to make,” said Steve Evans, the Leeds manager on Sunday night. “I saw a man whose performance suggested he wanted to stay at the club, and I think maybe privately he would say that. He wasn’t in good form when I came to the club, but now he is and today he was outstanding.”
Byram is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the Championship and has attracted interested from a string of top-flight clubs.
Leeds Owner Massimo Cellini is unimpressed that Byram, who can play at full-back or in midfield, has refused to extend his contract beyond next summer.
“Sam Byram is the only one that maybe thinks Leeds is too small for him,” the Italian said.
“He maybe thinks he deserves to be in a bigger team and a bigger club, and maybe he’s right.
“But when I hear that a player from Leeds, with his agent, that he thinks that Leeds is not big enough for him, that he wants something bigger, I felt really embarrassed.”
The likelihood is growing that Leeds will cash in on Byram in January rather than lose him on a free next summer.