The Athletic’s Leeds reporter Phil Hay took to his latest matchday Q&A for the publication to deliver his verdict on James’ future following his loan spell at Fulham.
Hay claimed: “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.”
It would come as no surprise if James did not make a return to Elland Road, especially when you consider his lack of impact in his first season at the club after a £25m investment made on the player last summer.
It’s clear his time is up and the opportunity has been missed by the winger to impress Jesse Marsch who gave the green light for the player’s services to be distributed elsewhere in the Premier League, and must feel that the team does not need him to be successful going forward.
Despite scoring four goals and delivering four assists in 34 top flight appearances last season, the winger’s inability to be effective outside of his few goal contributions is an area Leeds couldn’t afford to ignore in their pursuit to retain their Premier League status following a relegation scrap at the bottom of the table.
The £50k-per-week flop – who was dubbed “frustrating” by reporter Jordan Jones – ranks in the bottom 5% of positional peers across the top five European leagues for passes completed, passes attempted and dribbles completed, as well as featuring in the bottom 6% for shot creating actions over the last 12 months.
As a result, it is clear that Marsch and the powers at Elland Road made the right decision in showing James the exit door at the West Yorkshire club, and the manager can now focus on deploying a forward-line he believes in to give Leeds their best chance to have a much more comfortable season ahead of them.