Leeds United are due to hold talks with Fulham about a permanent transfer exit for Daniel James, a report has revealed.
James joined Leeds on deadline day of the summer 2021 transfer window. It allowed Marcelo Bielsa to finally work with the former Swansea City and Man Utd winger, whom he had been targeting for more than two years.
However, things didn’t exactly pan out as James, Bielsa or Leeds would have hoped. The manager was sacked in February 2022, meaning James never even got to spend a full season under his guidance.
After struggling to earn the trust of Bielsa’s doomed successor Jesse Marsch, James was loaned out to Fulham in September 2022, exactly 12 months and a day after his long-awaited arrival at Leeds.
Fulham have gone on to enjoy a better season than James’ parent club, even if the winger himself has had a mixed impact.
And according to Football Insider, the Cottagers are ready to discuss James’ future with Leeds – who have him under contract until 2026.
Should Leeds suffer relegation to the Championship, they will be happy to sanction the sale of James on a permanent basis. Even if they stay in the Premier League, it is something they will consider.
Fulham do not have a pre-agreed option to buy James, so negotiations over his transfer value will have to start from scratch. But those discussions are due to get underway.
Fulham could have bigger plans for Daniel James
This season, James has played 21 times for Fulham during his loan spell. He has contributed three goals and one assist.
Although he has only started five Premier League matches under Marco Silva, Fulham could keep their faith in the 25-year-old. After all, the report hints that the futures of fellow Fulham wingers Willian, Neeskens Kebano and Manor Solomon are uncertain.
James could therefore earn more opportunities next season, either out wide or in a more central attacking position, like the one he featured in during his most recent start, in the 1-0 loss to Aston Villa on April 25.
In the less likely event of him returning to the Leeds fold, James would be aiming to add to his 40 appearances, four goals and five assists for the Whites.
But with uncertainty over who will be the Leeds manager next season – as well as the sporting director role being vacant after Victor Orta’s exit – exactly how James will be viewed back in West Yorkshire might take time to fully make sense of.
The prospect of Leeds cutting their ties with James does seem to be on the agenda regardless of who steps into those roles, though.