Everton officials have spent the last few days hurriedly devising a back up plan in the increasingly likely event that Seamus Coleman leaves the club for Manchester United.
The Red Devils have long been linked with the Irish right-back and they reportedly resumed their pursuit at the weekend.
A price as low as even money says Coleman will be on board at Old Trafford on September 4th, which would leave veteran cult hero Tony Hibbert as the only orthodox number two left at Goodison Park.
To prevent such a catastrophic eventuality being realised, the Toffees have drawn up a list of contingencies, with Leeds youngster Sam Byram believed to be residing somewhere near the top of it.
It is alleged less-glamorous alternatives Newcastle and Sunderland are also in the hunt for the Elland Road favourite, but only a madman would opt for either when the chance to join one of the Premier League’s best fast-track programmes to international football is on the table.
Few clubs this century can claim to have moulded uncapped assets into fully-fledged representatives of their country at the same rate the Merseysiders have.
Coleman, who has accumulated all of his 28 Republic of Ireland caps since signing for Everton in 2009, is just one of five English or Irish defenders to earn international recognition while playing their trade on the blue half of Merseyside.
The remainder of this lauded quintet include Joleon Lescott, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and John Stones.
Given England’s shortage in the right-back department, a position that Nathaniel Clyne is making tentative steps towards nailing down, it may only take a few months of impressive performances at the highest domestic level before Byram finds himself parachuted into Roy Hodgson’s squad.
It’s 5/4 he signs for Roberto Martinez’s side in a potential deal where every involved party would have something to celebrate.
In selling Leeds will cop a sizeable transfer fee for an academy graduate (whom they’ve used as a right-winger for large chunks of his career), while Man Utd will also benefit too as his acquisition will free up Coleman for transfer.