Martin O’Neill is surprisingly pessimistic about Nottingham Forest’s chances of signing Sam Byram this summer, telling Nottinghamshire Live: “He might think that, now he is properly fit, West Ham might be for him.”
But in the same sentence O’Neill revealed why Byram doesn’t have a future at his parent club. He added: “Pablo Zabaleta has just signed a new contract there and they have the young lad, Ryan Fredericks, who has done exceptionally well.”
There’s clearly no room for Byram at West Ham if the Londoners have Zabaleta and Fredericks as their first and second-choice at right-back. West Ham have even been linked with a move for Nathaniel Clyne, and are said to be moving Byram on this summer too.
The 25-year-old admitted in April that he was keen to stay at the City Ground, so why doesn’t O’Neill think Forest can get him? Supporters are desperate to see him return after his impressive form during the tail-end of the season, but their manager appears to be softening the blow if Byram doesn’t come back.
Other clubs are likely to be interested in the £31k-per-week defender, but O’Neill didn’t say that was the problem. He believes Byram wants to fight for his future at West Ham, despite the club deeming his surplus to requirements last summer and having two players ahead of him in the pecking order this summer.
Forest have a good chance to sign Byram, so O’Neill needs to be more optimistic.