The Whites paid £25m to sign James from Manchester United during the 2021 summer transfer window.
He is the third-most expensive signing in their history, trailing only Brenden Aaronson and Rodrigo. However, only a year after his arrival at Elland Road, Leeds opted to send him on loan to Fulham for the 2022/23 season.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay said that he has received no indication that the loan agreement includes an obligation to buy.
Jones told GiveMeSport that Leeds have little interest in whether or not James improves at Craven Cottage, and that the loan is a prelude to a permanent sale.
The transfer insider said: “This isn’t 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.”
Leeds may feel that, up to this point, the return on their investment has been underwhelming. James has played 40 matches for the club in all competitions but only managed to score four goals, whilst also providing just five assists.
Former Whites defender Ian Harte has been critical of the Welshman, arguing that ‘he doesn’t have the knowledge or the know-how’; while sports journalist Tom Dutton has gone further still, deriding the 24-year-old as a ‘pace merchant’ with a ‘poor final ball’ and ‘awful decision-making’.
That tallies with data from FBRef showing that James ranks in just the fifth percentile for pass completion among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues over the last 12 months.
Last season, he was thought to be the third-highest earner at the club on a salary of £50,000 per week, so maybe Leeds want those wages off the books too.
Jesse Marsch has already explained that selling James could also free up space and funds for the Whites to add another attacker to their squad, so Jones could well be right in hinting that the Welshman might already have played his last match in a Leeds shirt.
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