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Sam Byram excited by Premier League opportunity after joining West Ham

Published 20/01/2016

Defender Sam Byram has signed for West Ham from Leeds
Defender Sam Byram has signed for West Ham from Leeds

Sam Byram believes he is ready to tackle the next stage of his career against the best in the Barclays Premier League after completing a move to West Ham from Leeds.

Byram, 22, has penned a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Irons, the transfer fee undisclosed, but reported to be around £3.7million.

Leeds were also ready to sell to Everton, but Byram, who was born in Essex and has family connections with West Ham, is confident he made the right choice to help take his game to the next level challenging for a regular first-team place in Slaven Bilic's squad.

"I'm just looking forward to what the future holds and hopefully I can achieve things with the team going forward," Byram told the club's official website, www.whufc.com.

"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.

"My uncle and my cousin are big West Ham fans. It's nice to have them down here and they'll help me settle.

"I'm also really looking forward to seeing the new (Olympic) 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."

Full-back Byram moved to Yorkshire as a child before joining up with Leeds' Academy.

Byram, who can also play in a more advanced role on the right wing, came through the youth ranks at Elland Road to make his debut in the 2012/2013 campaign.

The 22-year-old admits it was a difficult decision to leave.

In a post on his Twitter page, Byram said: "From 10 years old and in the Academy, right up until now, I can honestly say it has been an absolute honour and privilege every time I have had the opportunity to pull on the Leeds United shirt.

"I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Leeds for all that you have done to help me - the president, my managers, past and present, all the staff - I wish you all the very best going forward.

"Also a huge thank you to all the fans for all the support over the last four seasons, through all the ups and downs, it really has been appreciated.

"I want to wish the team the very best for the rest of the season, it's so hard saying bye to such a good group of lads and close friends."

West Ham had long tracked Byram, and joint chairman David Sullivan revealed on the club's official website that once Everton stepped up their interest, the Irons had needed to move fast.

"We had planned to sign him in the summer, but we were forced to move sooner as it was clear that Everton had agreed terms with Leeds to sign him," Sullivan said.

"Sam has been bought for the future and in the long term he could well be an England international.

"He is a utility player who can play anywhere down the right-hand side and when played in a forward position he can score goals. He is still young and is improving all the time."

West Ham, meanwhile, are also reported to be keen on a loan deal for Fenerbahce striker Emmanuel Emenike.

The 28-year-old has recently been loaned out to Dubai club Al Ain, with Irons boss Bilic an admirer of the Nigeria international from his time coaching in Turkey at Besiktas.

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