Leeds United enjoyed and endured a busy summer transfer window as Victor Orta brought a host of players in and allowed a number of assets to depart from Elland Road.
Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips were the headline names to leave the club as they moved on to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, whilst the likes of Brenden Aaronson, Wilfried Gnonto, and Tyler Adams, among others, arrived through the door to bolster Jesse Marsch’s squad.
Transfermarkt have Leeds down as having spent £99.13m on new signings and claim that the club raked in £97.38m through their numerous sales.
One player who left without bringing in a significant fee for the Whites was Welsh international Daniel James. He left to join newly-promoted Fulham on loan until the end of the season.
This shows that the club were willing to let him leave without bringing in any transfer fee from their rivals for his services, which indicates that they were desperate to move him.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay has cast doubt over the attacker’s future at Elland Road. In a recent Q&A, he said: “I don’t think I see Dan James coming back, or it feels like a long shot. James is 24. He’s not especially young and Leeds have essentially said to him that they can do without him this season.”
This suggests that the Whites may look for a permanent solution to the Welshman’s situation when he returns from Craven Cottage next year, and it seems unlikely that they will be able to recoup the £25m they paid Manchester United to sign him in 2021.
He then played four games in the top flight this season prior to his loan exit and failed to register a goal or assist for Jesse Marsch before the club decided to part ways with him for the remainder of the campaign.
Journalist Connor McGilligan previously dubbed him a “headless chicken” and his attacking statistics, given that he is a winger/striker, back up that claim. His end product – as shown by how poorly he ranked within the Whites’ squad last term – is not good enough, and his exit has not taken much away from the team, given how little he has contributed on the pitch since arriving in Yorkshire.
Therefore, Orta endured a disasterclass with the deal to sign James from Manchester United last year, and as it stands, it is looking like £25m down the drain for Leeds. His subpar performances and the club’s willingness to sanction a straight loan to a Premier League rival does not suggest that they will be recouping anywhere near the money that they spent on him.
Hopefully the Whites chief will learn from this and make better decisions on signings from hereon so that the club are not left in this position with a big-money addition in the future.