The Whites paid £25m to sign the Welshman from Manchester United on the final day of the 2021 summer transfer window as director of football Victor Orta successfully negotiated the deal after previous heartbreak (via Yorkshire Evening Post).
Leeds had first tried to land him in 2019, during his time at Swansea, but the deal fell through even after he passed a medical.
Just a year on from finally securing his services, though, the Yorkshire club have decided to send him on loan to fellow Premier League outfit Fulham.
Hay issued his verdict on the signing of James on The Athletic‘s matchday discussion forum on the day of Leeds’ 5-2 defeat at Brentford this weekend.
The journalist was left baffled that Leeds fought so hard to sign him and then disposed of him so quickly, stating: “James just hasn’t worked, has it? Such a long pursuit, £25m last summer, fleeting impact and now, off to Fulham. Somewhat baffling when you think about the time and attention devoted to him.”
James is the third-most expensive signing in the history of Leeds United, as per Transfermarkt, but he has not lived up to that billing so far.
The Welshman scored just four goals and provided five assists across 40 competitions in all appearances for the club.
In summer arrival Luis Sinisterra, Leeds have another right winger ready to take his place. The Colombian has got off to a fine start at Elland Road, scoring on his first two Premier League starts after notching a goal and an assist against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup.
Hay suspects that James’ career at the Yorkshire club is now over, even if there doesn’t seem to be an obligation to buy in the loan agreement. We can only watch with interest to see if the 24-year-old enjoys an upturn in fortunes during his time at Craven Cottage…
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