Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands is on course to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor Steve Walsh with a January swoop for Manchester United winger Dan James.
According to Football Insider, the Goodison Park natives are keen to explore a potential deal for James to move to Merseyside in the winter market, having missed out to the Red Devils when the Wales international quit Swansea City in 2019.
Everton are actively monitoring James’ situation at Old Trafford with the 23-year-old finding himself out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, as the Manchester United boss has only offered three Premier League starts in eight games thus far.
James was a regular for Solskjaer during his maiden campaign, making 46 outings in all competitions, but could now be made available for a temporary transfer having been omitted from three top-flight squads and playing just 71-minutes outside of the league.
Brands and Carlo Ancelotti are considering reviving Everton’s interest in James as the Blues duo strive to add pace and penetration to the attack after being nullified without Richarlison, with Everton scoring twice in three games whilst the Brazilian was suspended.
Manchester United are yet to decide what the future holds for James in the winter market and could look negatively on a deal with Everton in fear of improving a direct rival for the European qualifying places.
James also appears keen to stay and fight for his chance at Old Trafford, having told BBC Sport about international duty with Wales this month: “I wouldn’t say it’s a release.
“Man United is my club and I love it there. Whether I am playing or not, I’m proud, as proud as I am to play for Wales. I may not have played as much this season, but I am sticking in there and always in and around it.”
While Brands and Ancelotti would no doubt solve their desire for pace in a winter swoop for James, the Everton chiefs would not be adding the penetration they hope to sign by landing the Manchester United winger who offered each of his three goals and six assists in the Premier League last season before the New Year.
Each of his top-flight strikes even came during the first four games of the campaign as he enjoyed instant success upon joining from Championship side Swansea, but would only fire home once in 2020 during a Europa League Last 16 clash with LASK and is yet to get off the mark in any competition this term.
James is barely creating opportunities to break his league drought, either, as the 23-year-old is yet to register a big chance created or missed and is averaging just 1.0 key balls and 0.7 shots per game, with 0.0 accurate crosses, 0.3 successful dribbles and 1.7 duels won, per SofaScore.
All Everton would be signing in James would be a player lauded for his pace, which Solskjaer used to defend the Wales international from criticism earlier this season.
“Dan’s strength, you know, is his incredible speed,” Solskjaer said, via quotes by the Mirror. “Today, I thought he showed productivity and trusted himself. We work with all the players and tell them to express themselves and show what they’ve got.
“Juan [Mata] and Bruno [Fernandes] were in the pockets and Dan and Marcus [Rashford] were working hard to run in behind them and be positive. All of them did fantastic but I’m very pleased for Dan. He’s been away with Wales and missed a few games for us with a bad cold. Today, it was a very good performance by Dan.”
Brands signing James would only see the Dutchman repeating the errors of his predecessor Walsh, who signed Theo Walcott from Arsenal in 2018 for more than £20million as his last piece of business as Everton’s Director of Football.
Walcott went on to make 85 appearances for the Toffees before joining Southampton on loan this summer, but struck just 11 goals and penned nine assists across all competitions while earning £100,000-per-week.