While it is undeniable that both Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta pulled off an astonishing feat in getting Leeds United back into the Premier League after a 16-year absence, since the Whites’ promotion back in 2020, the club have had something of a hit and miss record in the transfer market.
Indeed, spending just shy of £100m in the summer before their return to the top flight, Orta very much hit the jackpot with a few of his deals, with the likes of Raphinha, Illan Meslier and Joe Gelhardt undoubtedly being fantastic acquisitions by the Spanish sporting director.
However, the same cannot be said for some of the big-money signings completed in the same window, with the likes of Rodrigo, Helder Costa, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente all already having varying levels of question marks hanging over their respective futures at Elland Road.
It was a similar case last summer, with both Kristoffer Klaesson and Jack Harrison – despite the former Manchester City winger enduring something of a below-par campaign this time out – looking to be solid longer-term investments, while the likes of Junior Firpo and Dan James have both struggled following their big-money moves to LS11.
However, it is undoubtedly the latter of the aforementioned players who has been the biggest transfer disappointment, with the £30m signing from Manchester United very much failing to live up to his incredibly hefty price tag.
Indeed, over his 34 Premier League appearances in the current campaign, James has struggled to find any real level of form for the Whites, scoring four goals, registering four assists and missing eight big chances, as well as completing an average of just 9.9 passes, ceding possession of the ball 9.4 times and winning a mere 2.9 duels – at a success rate of 39% – per game.
These returns have seen the £16.2m-rated man who Darren Bent dubbed “headless” average an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of 6.64, ranking the 24-year-old as Jesse Marsch’s ninth-worst player in the top flight of English football.
As such, considering the fact that the £52k-per-week forward is now worth roughly 46% less than the £30m fee Orta paid for his services last summer, in addition to the fact that the Wales international has endured an incredibly torrid season at Elland Road, it is clear for all to see that the Spaniard had a nightmare when bringing James to the club.