There was a little discussion going on elsewhere as to whether Sam Byram was in competition with Pablo Zabaletta for the right back role next season.
Trust me it was offered as a serious question and I’m told there was even a poll run on the issue.
Quite why the matter was even under being debated is mystifying because whilst he grew into the role a little over the last few games of the season, the position was a major problem for most of the campaign.
This in part was due to the manager believing that Michail Antonio was a right back to die in the early days thus losing faith in the former Leeds player after some highly indifferent performances. A little later of course Michail became Diafra Sakho!!!
Even Havard Nortveidt was tried in the position before eventually, via injuries, we were forced to return to Sam whose game probably rose from below to average to just about acceptable.
Much has been made of Zabaletta’s arrival having a positive effect on his game but truth is we wouldn’t have moved for the Manchester City legend had Sam had anything near a half decent season.
I believe Zab’s arrival on a two year deal suggests something far different – that it gives us time to look around for the 24 year old’s natural successor andcashing in when the right price is offered.
After all, how many more chances is he going to get with the Argentine now on the squad and as a result it seems to me that minds are made up.
I would not be in the least surprised to see Byram exiting at Christmas or next summer with a new number one being lined up.