Leeds United have discussed the potential departure of Daniel James prior to September’s transfer deadline.
That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, with the Italian journalist revealing in a recent post on Twitter that, following earlier reports of Tottenham Hotspur registering an interest in the Leeds winger, both clubs have been in discussions over a potential loan with an option to buy deal for the 24-year-old over the last week.
The transfer insider went on to state that Everton have also made contact with the Whites regarding a potential move for the Wales international, while talks with Spurs are believed to remain open – although it is thought that Jesse Marsch would be happy to retain the services of the forward beyond Thursday’s transfer deadline.
In his post, Romano said: “Tottenham have discussed potential loan with buy option for Daniel James with Leeds last week – not an easy deal, also Everton asked for Dan. Situation remains open, it’s up to the player – Leeds would be happy to keep James.”
While it is true that Leeds still remain short of depth behind Patrick Bamford – something that, with the 28-year-old struggling for fitness last season, James’ versatility helped to cover – considering just how underwhelming the winger has largely been since his £25m move to Elland Road last summer, Victor Orta simply must move the 24-year-old on while he has the chance.
Indeed, despite playing the majority of his 34 Premier League fixtures as a centre-forward last season, the £16.2m-rated talent continuously struggled in the final third, scoring just four goals – two of which came in a 3-3 draw with Aston Villa – registering four assists and missing eight big chances over the course of the 2021/22 campaign.
These returns saw the Welshman – who Martin Keown dubbed “unbelievable” for his red card challenge on Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic last season – average an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.64, ranking him as Marsch’s ninth-worst player in the top flight of English football last time out.
Furthermore, according to FBref, the £50k-per-week forward also ranks in the bottom 28% of wingers in Europe’s big five leagues and European competitions for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the bottom 37% for assists, the bottom 1% for passes attempted, the bottom 5% for passes completed and the bottom 4% for dribbles completed over the last 365 days.
As such, considering just how poor the 24-year-old has been for the Whites, coupled with the fact Tottenham are reportedly willing to include a £20m option to buy the winger in their season-long loan deal, it would appear extremely advisable for Orta to cash in on James while the interest in his services is there – as it is evident that the forward is simply not of the standard required for Leeds.