West Ham United new boy Sam Byram has admitted the opportunity to play Premier League football at the Olympic Stadium from the start of next season was too good an opportunity to turn down after confirming his move from Leeds United. The 22-year-old has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal with Slaven Bilic's side to become the club's first signing of the January transfer window.
Everton made a last-ditch attempt to bag the full-back this week but the player made the decision to move to Upton Park. Co-owner David Sullivan confirmed personal terms had been agreed on Tuesday 19 January after Whites owner Massimo Cellino confirmed Byram had decided to move to East London.
Byram had been the subject of constant speculation regarding his future, with his contract at Leeds due to expire at the end of the season. Everton's approach forced West Ham into ramping up their interest and Byram is delighted with the move.
"I'm unbelievably proud and happy to join a club as big as this," Byram told the official West Ham website. "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 I just want to get my head down, work hard and hopefully get a chance.
The ex-Leeds defender added: "I spoke to the manager and he is one of the main reasons that 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 and have bought their tickets for the new stadium. 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.
"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."
The Hammers are also interested in signing a striker to replace the injured Andy Carroll in the final two weeks of the transfer window, but Sullivan is thrilled to have got a first new face through the door. The West Ham chief said: "He has been bought for the future and long term he could well be an English 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 has already scored three times for Leeds this season.
"He is still young and is improving all the time. His uncle and cousins are West Ham United season ticket holders.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."