Leeds head into their Premier League fixture against Liverpool on Sunday still to record their first league win of the season, but they have now bolstered their attacking options bringing in long-time target James from Manchester United for £25 million.
Do you think Leeds could beat Liverpool without Raphinha?
It was still yet to be seen how Marcelo Bielsa would fit Jack Harrison, Raphinha and James into the same side, but that headache may be taken out of his hands this weekend, with Raphinha one of the players that should have linked up with Brazil during the international break, which means he is likely to be suspended for five days as things stand.
Hay spoke about if James would start and how ready he is to play.
“James should be match-fit, whether he’s Bielsa match-fit is another question, and you know, as we speak at the moment, he won’t have trained at all at Thorp Arch because he was on the plane to Finland within a couple of hours of completing his transfer to Leeds last week.
“So you know what Bielsa is like, it tends to be the case that he holds back on these things and he wants players to be fully up to speed with his ideas and his system and everything else.
“But James has played enough this season, and played enough in the past week or so to have the sort of level of fitness that would let him get involved.”
TIF Thoughts on James featuring for Leeds…
Bielsa has since confirmed in his press conference that he’s still unsure as to whether or not Raphinha is allowed to play on Sunday, but if he does miss out, then it would make sense to do a straight swap and bring in James for his club debut.
He doesn’t potentially offer the same dribbling ability as Raphinha, with the latter attempting 118 dribbles compared to James’ 18 last season (as per FBRef), but he’s played twice for Man United this season so far, which would mean that he’ll be match-ready, as long as he can grasp and buy into Bielsa’s ideas and style of play quickly enough.