Phil Hay has admitted that despite a deadline day switch, Daniel James didn’t want to leave Leeds United.
Leeds were certainly very active on deadline day as they tried to complete deals for both Cody Gakpo and Bamba Dieng, although neither of them ended up at Elland Road, while last summer’s deadline signing, James, was loaned out.
The Welsh winger was signed just 12 months ago for £25 million but after just nine goal involvements in the Premier League last season and playing mainly as a striker, he’s been shipped out to Fulham for the remainder of the season.
Hay has claimed on The Phil Hay Show that James didn’t want to leave and instead, wanted to stay and fight for his place.
“It felt to me that even had everything fallen through it would have been incredibly difficult/impossible to have clawed James back from the loan at Fulham given that they had essentially transmitted to him the fact that they thought he was expendable, he didn’t want to go and he made it quite clear to Leeds when the story started developing about him that he would stay and fight for his place if he could.
Did Daniel James get a fair chance at Leeds?
“But it seemed to me that Leeds were essentially saying we could get somebody better, or we could get somebody else to add to the squad and if we do, then you’re the one who’s going to going to pay for it, you’re the one who’s going to move, you’re the one who’s going to go out, you’re going to be the makeweight to make sure that that happens.
“I can imagine that James would be quite aggrieved by the way this has worked out, it’s virtually a year to the day since he signed from Manchester United and Leeds committed £25 million to that deal.”
TIF Thoughts on James’ situation…
Given that James is now 24 and already onto his third Premier League during his professional career, it would appear that this loan deal is not one to help him develop but instead one that signals a premature exit from Elland Road.
It is a shame for James to see his Leeds career take this sort of turn given how long he was targetted by the Whites even back during his days in the Championship with Swansea, but it appears that Jesse Marsch simply doesn’t see him as good enough for the first team.
The fact that James was also forced to play through the middle for the majority of last season restricted him in his ability to showcase his true ability as a natural winger which could be deemed as slightly unfair on his behalf, although he now has a great chance to prove people wrong in the Premier League with Fulham.