Sky Sports pundit Kevin Phillips has said that he ‘would be slightly concerned as a Leeds supporter’ after the decision to spend £25m on Dan James.
Leeds sealed the signing of the Welsh winger from Manchester United on transfer deadline day last week. He became their fourth and most expensive signing of the summer after earlier moves for Jack Harrison, Junior Firpo and Kristoffer Klaesson.
James slots into second place in the club’s all-time list of record arrivals, behind only £27m addition Rodrigo (via Transfermarkt).
He made a total of 39 Premier League starts for Manchester United, scoring six times and setting up seven goals (via WhoScored).
While Phillips believes that James has the potential to be ‘a very good signing’ if he can become more consistent under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa, the former Sunderland frontman has questioned the wisdom of the move when he saw a more pressing need for a back-up striker.
He told Football Insider: “Let’s hope he gets his career back up and running and excites us. He has shown flashes of brilliance but it is now about showing consistency. If he is firing on all cylinders he could turn out to be a very good signing.
“Personally, I would have rather have spent the £25million spent on another striker. There is no backup or competition for Patrick Bamford.
“If he is out injured or out of form who is there to come in? I’m very surprised they’ve chose to sign Dan James over a striker because they have strength and cover out wide. I would be slightly concerned as a Leeds supporter.”
It was somewhat surprising to see Leeds spend so much on a player who may struggle to displace Raphinha in Bielsa’s side – perhaps James has been signed partly in anticipation of the Brazilian being lured away, following reported transfer interest in the former Rennes man during the summer.
Bielsa will back himself to extract another level from a player he had first hoped to sign more than two years previously, but Phillips does have a point about the striker position. Tyler Roberts has yet to show he can cut it at this level, scoring just once in 31 top-flight appearances, and Rodrigo may be better suited to a deeper role.
In other news, this mooted Leeds transfer has seemingly been dumped.
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