Manchester United’s pursuit of an Everton full-back shouldn’t worry Toffees fans too much. After all, the last time the Red Devils courted one of their wide defenders, Leighton Baines ended up staying on Merseyside, despite David Moyes’ presence in the Old Trafford dugout.
Now, it’s Seamus Coleman in the transfer crosshairs, with Louis van Gaal reportedly keen to lodge a bid for the Republic of Ireland right-back.
Naturally, Roberto Martinez wants to resist any offer, as the 26-year-old has become a consistent performer for the Goodison Park club since arriving for a measly £60,000 back in 2009.
However, it would be remiss of the Spaniard not to make contingency plans for the possibility that his Dutch counterpart along the M62 lands his man, with Leeds youngster Sam Byram emerging as Everton’s replacement.
The Championship club rate their academy product at around £8m, although it’s thought that such a valuation could dissuade the Toffees from following up their interest.
At the age of 21, Byram has gained some considerable experience at Elland Road. After impressing Neil Warnock in pre-season of the 2012/13 season, the Essex-born defender became a first-team regular and is yet to be displaced, making 108 league appearances across three campaigns.
A marauding full-back in the style Everton have become accustomed to, Byram seems the perfect fit to replace Coleman should the Irishman vacate his spot in Martinez’s side. A powerful runner with an eye for goal, he has clearly been earmarked as a natural successor to the Man Utd target.
As is the way with transfers these days, Everton are not alone in wanting to prise the young Englishman away from Elland Road.
Southampton and Sunderland are both reportedly interested in signing Byram, although it is with Everton that the defender would likely reach first-team status quicker.
One curious absence on the 2012/13 Player’s Player of the Year’s CV, however, is a lack of international experience.
Despite being one of the most highly regarded youths in the English game, Byram has never been capped by any English age-group team. He was called up to the U20 World Cup squad by Peter Taylor in 2013, but had to withdraw through injury.
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