By Alex Stevens
West Ham have completed the signing of Sam Byram from Leeds, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The 22-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club after undergoing a medical on Wednesday morning.
As revealed by Football Insider on Monday, Byram rejected a move to Everton in favour of West Ham after the Londoners made a late swoop on Sunday night.
Everton bid £3.7million for United’s academy graduate but the Championship club accepted the Hammers’ offer of £3.5million plus add-ons after Byram made it clear that he wanted to move to Upton Park.
Speaking to the West Ham website, Byram said: “I’m unbelievably proud and happy to join a Club as big as this. I’m just looking forward to what the future holds and hopefully I can achieve things with the team going forward.
“It’s a childhood dream of mine to play in the Premier League, so to have the chance to get into a team like this and I just want to get my head down, work hard and hopefully get a chance.
“I spoke to the manager and he is one of the main reasons which attracted me to West Ham. I think he’s done unbelievably well with his team so far, so I’m really looking forward to working with him and his staff.”
Essex-born Byram revealed he has close family ties to the east London club.
“My uncle and my cousin are big West Ham fans and have bought their tickets for the new stadium,” he explained. “My uncle was down here yesterday getting a shirt with my name on the back! It’s nice to have them down here and they’ll help me settle so I’m looking forward to seeing them.
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“I’m also really looking forward to seeing the new stadium in person. That was another big part in me wanting to come here. It’s a massive part of the future of the club and I can’t wait to see and hopefully play in it.”
West Ham chairman David Sullivan said the Londoners had originally intended to recruit Byram when his contract at Elland Road expired in June but the club sprung into action after Everton made their move.
“We hoped to sign Sam Byram in the summer when he was out of contract at Leeds but in the last few days it looked like he was going to Everton,” Sullivan told Sky Sports News. “We realised it was now or never so we had to pitch in and attempt to sign him.”
West Ham have been struggling for a right back, with James Tomkins filling in this season due to the poor form of on-loan Arsenal star Carl Jenkinson.
Byram, who has been used at right midfield by Leeds in recent weeks, is seen as the long term option at right-back by Slaven Bilic and his staff.