Leeds United director of football Victor Orta added some extremely exciting attacking talent to Jesse Marsch’s first team squad over the summer transfer window, with the likes of Luis Sinisterra, Brenden Aaronson, Sonny Perkins and Wilfried Gnonto all sealing a move to Elland Road prior to the September 1 deadline.
The Spaniard also moved a number of the Whites’ current attacking options onto pastures new, with Raphinha joining Barcelona in a £55m move, Tyler Roberts joining Queens Park Rangers on a loan-to-buy deal and Daniel James – a £25m signing in the summer of 2021 – linking up with Fulham on a season-long loan.
And, with the director of football already said to be eyeing a €35m (£31.5m) move for Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic in the not too distant future per reports in Italy (via Leeds Live), James’ time at Elland Road could very well be up come the end of the season, with the USA international very much looking to be a like-for-like replacement for the 24-year-old.
This is an opinion Conor McGilligan clearly agrees with, with the YouTuber stating his belief in a recent video for the One Leeds Fan Channel that the Blues forward would indeed appear to be a direct replacement for the Wales international – before stating that James’ days in LS11 very much already appear to be numbered.
“The interesting part of this is it’s going to be fascinating to see why Leeds would be going in for Pulisic,” McGilligan said. “Is it a direct placement for Dan James? We know his days are numbered at Leeds United.”
And, considering just how poor the winger was for Leeds last time out, coupled with the undoubted ability that Pulisic possesses, it would appear an extremely wise move for Marsch to cut his losses on the Welshman, before replacing him with the former Borussia Dortmund starlet.
Indeed, over James’ 34 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, the £27m-rated forward endured a disappointing campaign, scoring just four goals – despite often being deployed at centre-forward – and missing eight big chances for the Whites.
These returns saw the £50k-per-week winger average a disastrous SofaScore match rating of just 6.64, ranking him as Marsch’s joint ninth-worst performer in the top flight of English football last time out.
For comparison, despite Pulisic featuring just 22 times – only 13 of which came as starts – in the Premier League last season, the £45m-rated forward scored six goals, registered two assists and created one big chance for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.3 shots, making 0.7 key passes and completing 1.1 dribbles per game.
These metrics saw the £150k-per-week talent – who is comfortable operating from attacking midfield, on either wing or even as a centre-forward – average a SofaScore match rating of 6.74 – a rating that would have seen the American rank as the Whites’ joint 12th-best player in the top flight last term.
Furthermore, with the 24-year-old also having the experience of 45 Champions League matches behind him – over which he has scored seven goals and registered eight assists, as well as winning the tournament back in 20/21 – this is yet another string to Pulisic’s bow that James lacks – with the Welshman having made just two appearances in the competition.
As such, it is clear to see that, should an opportunity arise for Marsch to cash in on James at some point this season, the Spaniard simply must do so, before reinvesting the funds received into signing the player who Hakim Ziyech dubbed “crazy” – as is it evident that Pulisic would represent a huge upgrade on Leeds’ £25m flop.