Everton manager Roberto Martinez has hit out at Sam Byram for choosing West Ham United by saying he "wasn't the right player for Everton", and couldn't embrace the challenge set for him at Goodison Park.
The right-back, who has recently left Leeds United to join West Ham, was looking set to complete a switch to Everton, with the transfer fee being agreed and the medical being arranged.
However, the Hammers moved quickly to hijack the deal and managed to get the deal over the line ahead of the Toffees after announcing the transfer last week.
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Byram admitted in his statement that members of his family are West Ham supporters and that may have had an impact on his decision, but Martinez has hit out at the youngster.
The 22-year-old even held talks with Martinez regarding a move to Merseyside, but after seeing him move to West Ham, the Spaniard admitted the deal didn't feel right for all parties involved.
Martinez on collapsed transfer
“Sam’s situation was one, as in many occasions, that we were first to identify a good potential footballer in the Championship,” said Martinez.
“We went through the correct procedures and we established a good relationship with Leeds, but in the end it was not the right move for Sam and he wasn’t the right player for us with the squad that we have.
“That was the end of the matter really. I am pleased that we were at the forefront of identifying a player who has terrific potential but it was not right for both parties.”
It's believed Slaven Bilic's promise of giving Byram immediate first-team football also helped him choose West Ham over Everton, with the Toffees welcoming back regular right-back Seamus Coleman, who has been injured for the majority of the season.
Continuing on Byram's transfer decision, Martinez admitted he didn't think the right-back had it in him to challenge for the first-team spot at Goodison Park.
Byram not ready
“I haven’t got a crystal ball, but I can always give a correct path for a youngster to fulfil their potential as a footballer.
“But as you know the player needs to earn that opportunity to play on the pitch.
“As I say it wasn’t right as a football club to bring a young talent for the sake of it and it was not right for Sam to come to Everton.
“I don’t think it was a challenge he could embrace.”
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