By Alex Stevens
Sam Byram has not developed as hoped at West Ham amid growing doubts about his future at the club, according to a report.
The Times claim the Hammers’ defensive frailties stem from their signings, namechecking the arrival of Byram from Leeds in January 2016.
It is said that the right-back, 23, has not developed as hoped during his 15 months at West Ham and that the club are paying the price for his slow progress.
There is a growing sense that an exit is on the cards for Byram this summer, with him allowed to leave on a season-long loan or possibly even on a permanent transfer if the London club’s valuation can be met.
The Times report that West Ham are closing in on the signing of two-times Premier League winner Pablo Zabaleta.
The Argentina international, 32, is out of contract at Manchester City in the summer and could now become the latest in a long line of right-back signings by the Hammers, which also include the likes of Carl Jenkinson and Alvaro Arbeloa in recent times.
Byram has struggled to settle at West Ham since his £3.75million transfer from boyhood club Leeds, where he made 143 senior appearances after emerging from the youth set-up.
He has made just 21 appearances for West Ham in all competitions and suffered a series of niggling injuries that have prevented him from nailing down the right-back spot.
However, Byram played the full 90 minutes of the team’s 3-0 Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night, as he got the nod amid an injury crisis in Bilic’s squad.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.