Southampton line up Leeds’ Sam Byram to replace Calum Chambers
Southampton – massively odds-on at 1/100 for a top 10 Premier League finish – will move for talented Leeds United right back Sam Byram, if Calum Chambers is sold to a top team this summer, according to tabloid reports.
Full back Chambers, 19, has caught the eye of the likes of Arsenal (100/1 to win the title), Manchester United (now 40/1 to finish in the top four) and Tottenham (10/1 in the same market).
Any sale will promote former Crystal Palace player Nathaniel Clyne to first-choice on that flank of defence, but the Saints will want a replacement for £10m-rated Chambers and their contingency plan is 20-year-old Byram, who can also play further forward.
Chambers is yet to score in the Premier League or make an assist, but that will not deter potential suitors from the established order. Byram, meanwhile, has set up three goals in the Championship for Leeds teammates and looks set to be sold.
Defeat at Bournemouth has left Brian McDermott’s men with the slimmest hopes of making the play-offs. Leeds are now 66/1 for a top-six finish and 150/1 to be promoted.
They have also seen a takeover bid by Italian corn magnate Massimo Cellino come to the brink of collapse after he failed the Football League’s fit and proper persons test, because of a conviction for tax evasion.
Cellino is appealing against the decision, but realistically his hopes of becoming majority shareholder at Leeds are hanging by the slenderest of threads.
Everton (9/2 to finish in a Champions League place) have also previously expressed interest in Byram, just in case their own outstanding right back Seamus Coleman is cashed in on.
Premier League title favourites at evens, Manchester City were also linked with a £10m swoop last sunner, so Southampton will not get a clear run on Byram.
Initially on the England roster for the Under-20 World Cup last summer, Byram had to pull out of the tournament with a hip injury.
Mauricio Pochettino is preparing Chambers and his Saints side for their next test – a home game with Newcastle United. Back Southampton to repeat their winning margin in the fixture from last season with a 2-0 victory at 8/1.