The Lowdown: Unclear situation
James was seemingly shoved out the door during the summer by Jesse Marsch after spending just 12 months at Elland Road to make way for a young star in the form of Wilfried Gnonto.
The Fulham boss claimed that ‘many things can happen‘ when asked about James amid his alarmingly low number of starts this season, which may hint at his loan being cut short.
The Latest: James not set to return
Hay, however, has now admitted on The Phil Hay Show that a James reunion is looking unlikely due to the way he was pushed out of the door and his unhappiness at having to leave Leeds.
He said: “I would be very surprised [if James returned]. I don’t think James was particularly happy at all with the way it all played out over the summer. If you’re declaring him surplus at that point, it becomes very difficult at this stage to say, ‘listen, come back in and help us’.
“I was never quite convinced that James ever settled in properly under Bielsa, and I think I’m less and less convinced about how he would fit into the structure and the system that Marsch uses. So no, that would be a bit of a bolt from the blue.”
The Verdict: Leeds should be aiming for better
If Leeds want to push away from the bottom three, they shouldn’t be looking to bring back players who were part of their squad that almost went down last season – they have to be going for better than James.
Despite having splashed out £25m on the Wales international, James never lived up to that transfer fee, managing just four goals and four assists in 32 appearances last season, which was a huge reason Leeds found themselves struggling as he couldn’t contribute going forward.
Leeds have been linked with players such as Noa Lang, who has Champions League experience and is still very young, so going for that calibre of target could be a much better move from Victor Orta, although he could be keen to try and get the ‘outstanding‘ talent out of James that saw them shell out a huge fee not too long ago.