Daniel James has left Manchester United for our fellow Premier League rivals Leeds in a £25 million deal plus add ons. The transfer of the 23-year-old will hardly come as a surprise to many United fans. Though it does make you question why he started the game against Wolves at the weekend. However, an offer of £25 million was too good to turn down. In addition, United have made a profit on a player we bought for £15 million two years ago.
James is a player that was highly regarded by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær and was his first signing for the club back in 2019. When he was bought into us, many United fans probably did not think he would have played as much as he did in his first season. Injuries to other players meant the Welsh winger got more game time than expected. His second season with us saw his appearances restricted. He is also the first player signed by Solskjaer to be sold.
It could be looked at that Daniel James was just a stop-gap until United got the player they wanted in form of Jadon Sancho. The move had been hampered in 2019 due to us failing to qualify for the Champions League.
For United and many of us fans, we had hoped James would have developed into a great player. He had three goals in his opening four games against Chelsea, Crystal Palace, and Southampton. We all thought we had found a good prospect. With more game time in his first season, he was not able to maintain the scoring form and had a downturn in form. This seemed to affect his confidence as well. He was probably asked to do much for a young player giving the lack of options we had on the wings. One area that Daniel James lacked in was his final pass/cross into the box.
Game Time Restricted
In the 2020/21 season, James saw his game time reduced and effectively became a squad player. He got five goals across all competitions. He started two of the first three matches of this season, but his game time was set to reduced even further. With Marcus Rashford set to return from injury, Jadon Sancho is building his fitness and form, and upcoming prospect Anthony Elanga looking to break into the first team.
His performance against Wolves at the weekend hardly lit up the world. When he did have possession of the ball, he showed no threat against the opposition. The signing of Ronaldo just shows that United does need something better.
Right Time To Sell
Whilst we have bought in new players, United has struggled to move on players permanently. With a number of prospective clubs’ interest in James, it is the right time to cash in on a player that was going to struggled to get game time. In addition, the money from the transfer can be used to recoup the outlay we have spent in the summer transfer window. Or maybe used it to make one more signing before the window closes.
When James first came into the club, we had a lacked options on the wings. Now United has plenty of options in this area. Obviously, this has hastened the Welsh winger’s departure. We wish him all the best as he leaves United, even if he is going to our rivals Leeds. You cannot deny he gave everything on the pitch when he played. However, he did not reach the levels that we expected of him. Solskjær tried to make it work with Daniel James and gave him every chance but unfortunately, it just did not work out in the end.