Senior Leeds United star told his career at Elland Road is ‘over’ despite Jesse Marsch’s love for player

Daniel James, Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison of Leeds, April 2022

Leeds United-owned winger Dan James will not be seen in the club’s colours again and has played his last game for the club, claims a transfer insider.

The winger moved to Elland Road in a £25m deal in summer 2021, making him the second most expensive signing in the club’s history. Moving from Manchester United, his move to Elland Road also ended a near three-year pursuit for then boss Marcelo Bielsa.

But James’ career at Elland Road never quite hit the heights expected. With Patrick Bamford suffering a series of injuries, James was asked to play out of position in a central striking role. Given his physique, it was never a position that suited his style.

But with Leeds well served for wingers, James was only too happy to play wherever the manager asked him.

Indeed, that trend continued upon Jesse Marsch’s appointment as boss. Despite that, James finished his first – and only – season at Leeds with four goals and four assists.

Having been banned for the season’s opener against Wolves, James then featured in all four of the club’s next matches. Indeed, he made two starts and came off the bench in two others as Leeds made a promising start.

However, with the club looking to bring in a striker on deadline day, the club made James available for transfer.

And despite links with the likes of Tottenham and Everton, it was Fulham who managed to land the winger. And he moves to Craven Cottage on a season’s loan, which gives them the option to make the move a permanent £20m deal.

James spoke of his ambitions at Fulham upon sealing that switch.

Dan James finished at Leeds

Leeds United oracle Phil Hay has already expressed his doubts that James will be seen in a Leeds shirt again.

In a Q&A on The Athletic, Hay said: “I don’t think I see Dan James coming back, or it feels like a long shot.

“James is 24. He’s not especially young and Leeds have essentially said to him that they can do without him this season.”

Now transfer insider, Dean Jones, also reckons James’ time at Leeds is up and he won’t ever be seen in their shirt again.

Discussing his move to Fulham, Jones claims the move is not designed with a view to his return.

“This isn’t [a loan] looking for him to improve. This is looking to get him out of the squad, so I think Dan James and Leeds, that story seems to be over now,” Jones told GiveMeSport.

His exit, however, is tinged with a real sense of regret.

Marsch clearly admitted at the time that the winger’s sale was against his best wishes. Furthermore, the American claims James wanted to stay at Leeds, while his exit did not go down well with supporters.

Marsch clearly feels bad over winger’s Elland Road exit

“Yeah, it was clear that if we needed to add something that we needed to move something,” Marsch said. “I hate speaking about it that way because I love Dan James. He’s an incredible person and he gives everything to the group always.

“When we were trying to think about how to get the balance right in the team, this was the key was garnering the most interest and it was the only way that we could create flexibility to try and go out and add a striker position that we felt we needed.

“So I wish that we wouldn’t have had to do it and even the way that it went down because it was kind of tough for Dan.

“We discussed it weeks before the transfer deadline about the possibility. And then we had a lot of open conversations with Dan. It was tough at the end because I know he likes it here and his family likes it here.

“I wish him luck and I really liked him and I hope he has a good season and a good World Cup. And hopefully then we’ll see him again next time.”

Truth be told, James has every reason to feel bitter and one day, his feelings may come out. It’s a massive shame for the player. However, he does move to Fulham with a better chance of playing regular football and in his favoured position.

But he’ll always be appreciated by Leeds fans for the effort and sacrifices he made while at Elland Road.

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