Phil Hay has claimed that Jesse Marsch was disappointed to see Daniel James leave Leeds United on deadline day and implied he didn’t want the winger to go – but it may have been unnecessary following the club’s eventual signing of Wilfried Gnonto.
It was quite a surprise to see James, who was only signed last summer for £25m, loaned out by Leeds, despite failing to land either Cody Gakpo or Bamba Dieng on deadline day.
Now, it has emerged that Marsch was indeed disappointed to see the Welsh winger depart, despite previously claiming that the club had to move someone on if they wished to bring in a new singing – something they did in the form of Gnonto.
Hay has been speaking on The Phil Hay Show about Marsch’s apparent reluctance to see James leave on deadline day.
He said: “I asked him, can you explain the Dan James situation? And he was implying that he was disappointed to lose him and saying he didn’t really want it to happen – he didn’t make any secret of the fact, either. As we were saying last week, James wanted to stay, we only signed [him] last year. But he said, essentially, in order to bring somebody in somebody had to go.
“From what I can gather, I think that was definitely the case had it been Gakpo on deadline day; I think that was definitely the case had it been Dieng from Marseille, as looked likely until he didn’t actually get on the plane and then fail the medical at Nice.
“I’m not so sure that Gnonto would have strictly required Dan James to go, because Gnonto is not an expensive player, he’s not on expensive wages.”
Will Leeds regret letting Dan James leave?
TIF Thoughts on James’ departure…
Given how long Leeds had pursued James and that they also splashed out £25m on him – at the time he was the second-most expensive signing in the club’s history – to only give him one season to prove himself in a striker role he had little experience playing in, just appears a bit strange.
What makes it even more bizarre, however, is that Leeds didn’t really replace him, as the only arrival on deadline day was Gnonto, who has no top-flight experience outside of Switzerland’s top division, and at 19, appears unlikely to be ready to step up effectively and impact games this season.
Therefore, it would only be right if James felt very hard done by on deadline day as he was essentially forced out of Leeds to make room for an unproven teenager after not being handed sufficient chances to prove himself in his natural position.
While Marsch has claimed that it was indeed one in and one out at Elland Road on deadline day, given that Gnonto is 19, he wouldn’t have to be registered within the 25-man squad, and given his inexperience, wouldn’t have demanded too many starting berths, which makes the decision to ship out James seem pretty odd – although the failed move for Dieng perhaps saw Marsch and co enter panic mode at the end of the window.