Does selling Sam Byram to fund transfer spree make sense? TSS June 27, 2013 Leeds United 70 Comments With worrying noises coming from all quarters regarding the funds available to Brian McDermott, it’s becoming evermore apparent that the Leeds United boss may have to sell players to fund any transfers he wishes to make this summer. Undoubtedly The Whites most valuable player, Sam Byram is the best chance Leeds United have to raise substantial funds. With speculation suggesting a figure upwards of £6m could be raised through the youngsters sale, Byram’s transfer alone could fund every signing Brian McDermott is hoping to make. But is it a short-termist approach? While there’s sound reasoning for selling an individual to create an entire team, Byram would be the latest in a long line of talented youngsters to exit Elland Road. Had we retained and built around those youngsters, Leeds would surely be in a much stronger position right now? The trouble with previous sales however is that the money wasn’t reinvested. With new owners and a new manager, it’s less likely that Leeds United will sink the money into a pointless, loss-making vanity project like Ken Bates did, but there’s still reasonable doubt that it would be reinvested into the team. A cursory glance at Leeds United’s last accounts reveals the predicament we’re currently in. Attendances have fallen since then, ticket prices have been reduced and there hasn’t been an increase in season ticket sales thus far. As such, I don’t think it’s an unreasonable assumption to say Leeds United are currently losing money. The fear is then, that the sale of Sam Byram wouldn’t benefit our transfer plans in the least. Money raised may be used to balance Leeds United accounts, and/or as repayment of investor loans. Poll In the interests of the following poll, let’s assume that at least half the money goes back into the squad allowing Brian McDermott to sign several new additions to shape his squad. Under those conditions, would you support the sale of Sam Byram? Does selling Sam Byram make sense? Yes No View Results Loading ... Your thoughts I put the same question to The Scratching Shed’s followers on Twitter and have collated some of the responses below. You can add your own thoughts on the matter in our comments section below, by tweeting us @TSSLUFC or on Facebook. [View the story “Does selling Byram make sense?” on Storify] LeedsHipPriest NO! Keep Byram, Put simply Byram is good enough to play at the higher level. Yes, if he sold him we’d be in a position in to bring in 3 or 4 players of Championship quality and maybe this would lead to promotion. But what then ? We’d have to buy fresh Byram quality players to keep us up in the Premier League. Keep Byram, and build a young fresh team around him, with one or two experienced heads. (Not Michael Brown) Irving08 Byram is neither playing in the position nor is the the type of personality around whom a team can be built – even supposing teams can be built round single players in the modern game. Let’s get to the Premier League before we start worrying about what we’d do there. Personally, I think we’d have no problem attracting and funding palyers of at least Bryram’s quality to ensure we stay up and quickly consolidate our posiition. The priority is promotion within two years and everything has to be subordinated ruthlessly to this goal. TSS You can certainly build a team around certain players – Liverpool with Gerrard, QPR with Taarabt, Chelski with Drogba, Spurs with Bale, but you’re right, Sam Byram doesn’t play in a position you can build around, nor is he the type of player you’d build a team around. Rich Selling one of the few top players we have to bring in more players who may or may not be a success does not make sense. In the long term it results in the general drop in quality of the squad. See Becchio/Morison. All the money never gets reinvested. Irving08 Drogba under Mourinho was obviously a key player, but I wouldn’t say the team was built around him. The other examples don’t clearly support your view. Historically the best teams are not bult around a single player (LUFC under Revie, Cloughie’s sides, Liverpool when they were a top side, Wilko’s Leeds, Fergie’s Man U.). Personally, I think the concept is flawed. It is either lazy thinking (eg (Warncok) or a symptom of weakness. A team is a team, is a team …. TSS I think Chelsea were built around Drogba more than anyone realised, they struggled when he left. Similarly, Liverpool always struggle without Gerrard and Spurs without Bale. Agree though, a team is a team, is a team… Had Taarabt been injured that season, QPR would have really struggled. It’s silly to build a team around one player, but Warnock tried the same thing at Leeds, first with Snoddy and then with Becchio, and the results speak for themselves. Lose that player and you’re fucked. Irving Drogba was the key to Lampard’s – whom I had considered a poor man’s Lee bowyer – golascoring feats. Best front man of the 2000s undoubtedly. Scortum I think it would make absolute sense to GFH, a valuable commodity who could fetch say £8m, with a guarantee of a 1 year loan back and an option of a 2nd year loan. All emotions aside, a windfall of that size could help Leeds get back to the Premier League (though it’s no certain guarantee-see Leicester) and it’s vast riches, and an even bigger windfall. Money talks, especially to investment bankers, and with finances being what they are can any championship club realistically afford to keep hold of it’s crown jewels when those above come knocking? Colin For me it makes no sense to sell Sam Byram. Been there before with all the quality players we’ve sold and the money was never invested on the squad. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein. fraquar “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein. You mean like staying with Leeds year after year knowing you are Premiership quality and knowing they simply won’t doing enough to ever get me there – no matter how good I am? NottsWhite Reluctantly I voted yes, in the context that we have no significant money to bring targets into the club. I am not convinced that Bryram would fetch £6 to £8 million as buying clubs will perceive us as being desperate and Shaun Harvey is not competent to negotiate a decent fee. Even if we did achieve that amount I am not convinced that BMD would see much more than £3 million. However I voted yes because the squad is in dire need of quality reinforcement and unfortunately that costs money. It is short term thinking however with a fair transfer budget BMD could build some solid foundations that would help our longer term growth. PAUL W Sam Byram should be sold as soon as possible or next season will be another waste of time just like last season and the season before that. Leeds should try to get £8 million for Byram, but it would be typical of Leeds to get only £2 million in instalments. Nothing ever changes at Leeds, we will always be a selling club that sells its best players for half price fees. The insulting fees received from Norwich for Howson, Snodgrass and Becchio were all disgusting and made no difference to improving the Leeds team. NottsWhite Spot on Paul however the main concern is will BMD see a significant monies from the sale. I doubt it traegs Surely the difference there is that all those players were coming out of contract…If we get a poor offer for Byram there’s no reason why we should sell… casryrybac Why even write this story, who said he will be sold, B mac knows how to get good players in and for 2/3m he could buy well, sell white if needs most, he s worth between 1.5m/2m, get rid of brown/varney/norris & free up some cash, bring young dawson & poleon in aswel, problem solved. TSS McDermott apparently told fans at Crowne Plaza he’d snatch their hands off if he was offered £8m for Byram. Scortum And realistically that scenario has already been discussed by BMD and his staff, certainly by GFH Matthew It would make perfect sense, if a loan clause was inserted into the deal. You could fund a few decent players with that. Assuming it is reinvested back into the team. TSS, fans seem to bitch and whine about lack of investment but are unwilling to get behind the team and support it during the hard times. Our attendances were dreadful last season, and if people want investment they need to start supporting the club they claim to love. We’d be in a better position if we were pulling attendances of over 25k a week, but instead we have people complaining about lack of investment and playing keep away, not understanding that without fan support, this club will never reach its full potential. bd Byram is a right back.If you can get btwn 6-8 million and all that money is paid upfront and therefore all that money can be spent by BM. Off course sell him.BM can buy at least 4 really good players with that kind of money. However if it happened reality is Leeds will not receive all the money at once ( in instalments) .So BM would only get a small slice of the money to fund players and the rest of the money would slowly make its way into GFH pockets. Chareose No…. a appreciate its tempting but for me its the wrong thing to do if your building for the long term……….very few sides if any have ever done well out of selling its best youth players. I always think of west Ham as a great example and Leeds Uniteds performance over the last 7 years points to it failing too…. 1/ you get paid in stages, we wouldnt get 8 million to spend anyway 2/ The reason Byram is being touted is because hes the best youngster for that position so he wont be replaced like for like despite leeds fans thinking talent grows on trees, it doesnt ! Leeds United has had 2/3 international quality right backs since Don Revies time, thats it….! 3/ Then theres the psychological element, you sell him and what message does it send?? Is not better to build around our youth players and get the sort of momentum and attitude we got under DOL ?? How will you acheive that if you sell your best kids ? 4/ At the end of the days its BMC job to make this call and we must support his decision but it isnt going to be easy and theres no guarentee that the incoming players will be worth it is there…. For me id try and find extra cash for new players but make a stake in the sand NOW that we wont sell any more talented kids ! Chicago White I voted no because the numbers being proposed for Byram seem low to me IMO he could be our Bale we have a record of selling valuable assets at knock down prices Lennon, Robinson, Carson, Woody, Milner … we haven’t seen the best of Byram yet and I don’t think RB is his best position he could be a superstar in attacking MF and worth 5x what is being discussed. Build a team around him, Lees & a few other of the kids & LUFC fans will back the club & get us back to the top again. Dfooster GFH might be skint but lets not assume they are another ken bates. I’m sure if byram was sold then BM would be allowed to go out and strengthen. We need to get back to the premier league and byram is our only asset. We need to swallow our pride and get back up. There will be many more players who come through over the years. I think saying no to byram being sold is very shortsighted. gistheman Sam should stay. I see shy people say sell, but if we put the kids in like dol did with some of the better experienced players maccormak, douif, warnock to name some. We should wait and see what bm is going to do and who is the players which have been asked about. Bm has stated today he doesn’t want sell byram so who are these players Morrison, Pugh ??? If it was byram we would of heard by now. For me I would put Dawson if he has put weight on!! With Austin and green with maccormak in front with Morrison and poleon upfront poleon and Dawson will be like byram last season. We won’t be far away this season with the additions bm brings in. fraquar Additions with what? Board approved Free Transfer wages? gistheman They have said that he will sell and they will also back him, but that does not mean freebies all the time. Free transfers are not all old donkeys either I will trust bm in that he will bring better than we have even if they are free or a few quid what is wrong by that ??? fraquar Problem is simple – if they don’t put some pieces in place to help this kid he’s gone anyway. Since it’s pretty apparent there are no funds to do that with unless they sell off players first, not sure what the point of keeping him really is. It’s not like Leeds are stocked full of sellable assets that can fund enough quality players in return to play alongside Byram. It’s just the sad reality of this whole mess. My guess is that if he is sold, Brian won’t see much in terms of transfer funds anyway. There is a reason there is none right now to begin with – can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. wyla NO!!!!!!!! And here’s the team you could’ve had Carson, Byram, Lees, Kilgallon, Gordon Lennon, Howson, Delph, Milner Beckford, Snake in the Grass fraquar They couldn’t keep those players because they had no money to bring in reinforcements to help those players when they were here. It’s the exact same thing with Byram – no quality reinforcements to ADD to Byram then you might as well sell him. It’s not as simple as indentured servitude – even if that did exist in English football. It’s up to Leeds to put up or sell – i.e. show these quality players they mean business. That takes both money and commitment – because even players on a Free (and existing quality players due raises for stellar performance) still have to have their wage bill met. djedjedje Who’s ‘Gordon’?! dazzyd Is it not what Leeds do best, get rid of youg growing talent for the likes of has been pensioners.. spellz We cannot sell Byram, I am one to say if the price is 6m upwards it should be considered as a fan but then I know that 70% of that sale will never be seen again to re-invest in players so also as a fan no deal. If I was our tight pocketed only money interested board then of course I would sell but there lies the problem if that is their mentality will we ever see a promotion until they are gone, I have said it once and I will say it again only time ill tell. M.O.T As always mrbigwheels Interesting provocative question…. In reality perhaps it should be asked… Does selling Sam Byram to support the cash flow of this Club for the next few months make sense?… Due to the lack of investment presently coming into the ownership while the practice of borrowing monies from third parties to keep the Club going… continues. Irving08 You know it makes sense MBW ! Lee Stephenson May Dawkins help BMcD. 37%, and TSS say sell him. Why? WHERE WOULD THE MONEY GO? £8MIL is prancing 8 legged gold unicorn money. £3-4MIL more likely, equals £2-3MIL for BMcD. So….pointless. No investment so far, but agree that it’s early days and judge GFH at the end of the window. Concerned at BMcD’s statements about needing to sell before buying. This season, we need to clear out the Warnock era dead wood, keep Byram & RossMc (creative players) and get the team playing fooball on the floor. I’d take mid-table now to achieve that. Going up is a pipe dream this year. But we can lay the foundations. We need to find/develop more Byrams. Selling him makes no sense. MOT, in BMcD we trust. spellz With the teams in the championship this year I actually think going up is not a pipedream, it is possible that if McD is given suitable funds to assemble a team that he is comfortable with and that he also believes could challenge for a title we could do it, why not? This is the question at the moment that seems to play out each season will the manager get the investment to get a squad he thinks can challenge and unfortunately every season so far it is the same answer – NO and I don’t think selling Byram will help matters either, all we seem to do is develop a gem and sell him before he gets time to flourish at the same club he was established. Irving08 On balance, the answer must be ‘yes’, if it yields around 6 million, provided it is spent exclusively on team building. If he was a midfield ‘general’ in the mould of Sheridan, my answer would probably be ‘no’. But SB is not playing in what I would call a key position. In addition, in Peltier I think we have a perfectly adequate replacement. Does selling Byram send out the wrong signals to other clubs though ? Is it a further battering to our self-image as a big club ? The answer must be ‘yes’ on both counts, but we can surely live with that if it enables BM to recruit the players he thinks necessary to give us a realistic chance of promotion within the next two years. Matthew All Championship and lower clubs are selling clubs, Leicester, even Burnley have come under pressure for some of their talent. Kasper Schmeichel and Charlie Austin won’t be at their current clubs for long. djedjedje I disagree on your first points, Irving. Quality fullbacks are hugely missed once you let them go. It’s taken us years to find a rounded right-back so we should hang on to him. On the basis of last season, for me, Peltier isn’t a quality right-back but a decent centre-back. I agree with your latter points. Also, after the the dismal missives of our new vice-chairman and manager over the last 48 hours, I imagine Byram’s price tag has just been slashed by a few million. Chareose Good Point Dje, yes his price will be plummeting now we are seen as desperate for cash…….and the likliness is some of the monies gleaned would go to paying debts or refunding GFH for their costs TSS Agree. How many years were we all moaning about the lack of a decent LB? They seemed to be as elusive as Ken Bates’ war chest to LUFC. Irving08 I don’t disagree about quality full backs; I was addressing the point about building teams around one. It’s difficult to judge Peltier as a right full back, when he was played out of position by Warnock on the left. I agree Peltier’s a decent centre back, but I still hold hopes out for Pearce in that position. On the last point, I’m afraid you could be right. djedjedje Didn’t Warnock start last season with Peltier as right-back? I thought he did, and he had some shockers when he did. Irving08 Did he ? – it’s all a blur. Maybe the captaincy got to him ? Ah yes, Blackburn, but as I recollect it was Diouf – then playing on the right – losing the ball, leaving him with two of theirs to cover, that was to blame. Matthew McDermotts sell to buy statement does not say it all. He’s clearly speaking about BUYING players. That doesn’t include freebies surely? You don’t BUY freebies. Plenty of mildly decent freebies out there. /positive spin. spellz I honestly think Byram should be kept and for once we need to start developing our youth talents and let them mature in our club, we rush to sell too easily even though I am not bigging up the scum Man utd look at the structure Ferguson created and the youth that never left, the likes of Scholes, Giggs, Nevilles they did not turn out too shabby did they, embrace our youth system and hold on to these young stars in the making and you never though we might well see the premier League again (mini rant done) M.O.T AA djedjedje Before making any decision on selling Byram or not, what I’d like to know is what has changed in Leeds United’s finances between when McDermott was approached/offered the job and now? Was he outrightly lied to about an imaginary transfer kitty? By McDermott’s TV interview today this seems more likely than I wanted to previously believe. If so, how can we trust GFH to give any of the Byram money to McDermott? Or have our/GFH finances somehow diminished to such an extent that McDermott’s transfer kitty has been swallowed up? If so, why have they diminished? To what extent? And, more importantly, how much of the Byram sale is going to be also eaten up? Beyond this, how much of the Byram cash would be going to pay Leeds United debt or purely GFH debt? Without such answers I’d stick rather than twist. And on the back of the last months lack of club information and clarity, I’m not expecting answers soon. mrbigwheels Exactly!. I just hope to god…. more of us can grasp the reality of your points made and take on board why there is a serious cash flow problem at the Club which hasn’t just popped up in the last few weeks. GFHC were obviously banking on investment coming in to fund the McD proposals and working capital requirements…… This has just not been achieved to date and rather concerning to think Byram may be sold anyway to pay the bills, etc. Matthew Cash flow issues come from the stuff Ken Bates wasted the clubs money on. They won’t last forever, we’l eventually be a sustainable club without the need for investment, that pays for players, and keeps it talent. It just needs the fans to support. Anyway we might get into the Premier League before then anyway, which would provide enough cash for investment, to pay off Bates stupid projects, to make GFH happy and to survive. Matthew I think the intention was there to try and support McDermott to the best of their ability but things can change in time. Problem is, too many fans are staying away, using the excuse that no investment, no point supporting. Proper fans support the team during the good and bad times, we’ve had a lot of bad times under Bates but as long as we move forward, even if its just one step at a time, that’s enough for me. If he can’t buy players, he can always look at freebies. + Any cash raised from sales towards other players. I don’t think we’l come out of this transfer window worse off this time. djedjedje Yes things can change in time, Matthew – I agree. But such variables don’t really apply in the four months or so since McDermott came in. I mean, what have we done that has cost us more (Smith won’t have cost us much) to run as a club than was the case in April? Likewise, what has happened to mean that we are earning less? Considering GFH are supposed to be businessmen the variables are pretty easy to calculate and they would have known what money was going to be present for the transfer window when they spoke to McDermott. So there either wasn’t any money and they lied to McDermott and us, or something has changed. The only thing I can think of is that GFH are talking bull and the season ticket sales are abysmal, so much so that they are a few million out of pocket and this has come at McDermott and the squads expense. If so I’d be surprised, as we are all so used to the underwhelming that we buy our season tickets despite everything! Matthew For what its worth, I agree with you. It’s a shitty situation to be in, we just have to see what the transfer window brings and hope what damage is done, is lessened by whoever we bring in. I blame Ken Bates more than GFH for all this, the only thing GFH are guilty of in all honesty is buying us and having no money to invest in transfers, but had Ken Bates remained at the helm, we’d be fucked anyway. In all honesty I’d be happy with a hard fought fight every season to reach the playoffs, and hope and pray that luck is on our side and we make it into the promised land. The Championship is a better league than League 1 and below, and is more of an even playing field than the Premier League. I wouldn’t mind spending a few more seasons here if it helps the club recover. djedjedje Yep, GFH are going to have to do something in the transfer window. They know that a lot of eyes are watching, and angry shouts may well follow come August if nothing has been done. And yep Bates is definitely more to blame than GFH but the problem is that we are now bed fellows with this GFH mob. If they have gambled on us making them money by somehow getting to the Premiership in two or three seasons then we could be in serious shit. Bates could annually asset strip us by selling the best players and pocketing the money, and failing that mortgaging himself a nice little earner against future season tickets sales (hence why we are currently poor). But there aren’t the assets for GFH to cash in on, and we are over-mortgaged to be offered any more money, so if we are still running the large annual loss you have to wonder what GFH’s plan ‘B’ is? Because if we run out of cash, and they haven’t got it (which they don’t), we’ll be back in administration and the merry-go-round goes on. Also, I admire your optimism, Matthew, with sticking with the club come what may. But personally, the last decade of being a Leeds fan has been, and continues to be, a fucking nightmare. It’s like being inexplicably in love and forgiving of a wayward wife who each summer goes off with another fella only to come back in a flood of tears each August promising ‘to change’ and begging forgiveness. [At least that’s what sending off the annual season ticket renewal form feels like!!] Irving08 The operative word could be ‘supposed': they are huigh risk fund managers. LIke me perhaps, they expected emerging markets to go on and on….well, Bernabake and the Chinese have seen to that. djedjedje A bunch of puffed-up chancers sounds about right to me. Other than being the easy-fill criteria of ‘anyone but Bates’, I can’t see what good GFH are doing Leeds United at the moment (although they still may prove me wrong…). Seriously, what good are they serving us? Irving08 Great. Altogether now: ‘You’re just a bunch of……’ Irving08 We need provisos, I agree. But Byram’s sale always was a possibility. The tone of BM’s statements though is worrying. djedjedje Yep, the tone has definitely changed for the worse. I thought McDermott pretty much nailed his colours to the mast by saying he didn’t want to sell Byram (but might have to sell others). Who else then? I can only think of McCormack as we don’t really have any other cashable assets. Hunt as the free replacement being lined up for McCormack? I hope not, but… Matthew Strikers should be relatively safe from sale. For one, you lose your firepower, you lose games. Look at Millwall without Chris Wood, they had an average side but were winning games because he was banging in the goals. Without him they dropped like a rock down the league and narrowly avoided relegation(Though I have them for relegation this season..). Robert Darlington Becchio? mrbigwheels I’m sure Sir you will have a view to your second to last para’, if thought about. My view is simplistic but the ownership of LUFC may well be accruing an accumulative cash shortfall of £6m since the takeover, averaging £1m/month. Some of that shortfall has been covered by cash injection from investment but with the absence of any recent new capital coming in…. GFHC are stalling in the team building plans originally discussed with McD. On this basis the Club could well end up with a first year term loss of £8/10m. That is a massive requirement of bums on seats/other income to stem this. Surely the only hope is GFHC find their magical investment, sell the Club, McD and squad serve up some compelling football… or if all else fails…. hope Byram is worth £8m and sell him. Sounds like the Bates way doesn’t it… at least without further ‘V’ projects. Irving08 EVidence of a sort could be the ‘phone calls I am receiving just to renew my Membership : renewals now acceped over the ‘phone too. craig If the sacrifice means we reach the promised land by the vision and professional man management of Uncle Fester, and the offer of course too good to turn down it makes sense. Considering our investment bank owners are broke, trouble is we could get 6 mil plus for Sam and when not if they do, how much will be reinvested in the team 500k. I feel sorry for Mac as he really is what we have needed in a long time, his football is good but you can only work so far with so little. Having said that keep Sam build the team around him Blood all the Youth and Clear out the ones that are past their sell by dates. firstname.lastname@example.org Problem is that we are unlikely to get much for Byram and no guarantee that what we do get will be used for player purchases. GFH are in it solely for the money but they know that they have to get Leeds into the Premiership to make large amounts of money. When they fail to achieve that a Portsmouth type situation will loom into view. Dr Zen Soon we will have no one left to sell and we’ll still have a midtable team at best. Pete Sasqwax Peltier to RB, Byram to RW. Get the likes of Dawson etc. into the first team, make a LW out of Aidy White. By promoting from the youth squad, we can fill the 6-7 roles BMcD has singled out Irivng08 That was my thinking too: I suspect BM’s also. He’s a pragmatic chap, and must know that Byram and White are as good as he’s likely to get for the wide positions. mrbigwheels All makes sense. White will benefit from McD, I’m sure. If we can retain Byram, Ross, Lees and assume only 2/3 come in… Who can go and what’s a good starting eleven to play McD football?. Morison may be out on loan to Millwall for starters, Austin, Norris, Brown out for me also. Irving08 There you go, we’re feeling better already. AW will tear them up this season. Austin needs a purpose. Pete Sasqwax Which is no bad thing – White and Byram both have pace to burn and I think, given a position to call his own and a run of games in the side, we’d see AW blossom into a great young player. The benefit of having wingers who are no stranger to the tackle are self-evident, too. With Rudy in the middle, providing cover for the back 4, Ross could play either up top, feeding off whichever central striker B McD prefers, or in the no 10 role, which he seemed to really enjoy when playing there at the end of last season. We’ve got a good group of players there – the nucleus of a side which is capable of winning promotion from the championship, no question. The squad would comprise largely of youngsters, which is an issue to a degree, but if that’s the position, that’s the position. Irving08 Morison going, it seems. Food for thought: money for Brian, for new front man’s wages, at least. And Byram stays ? We hope.