A report from The Sun claimed at the weekend that Leeds United are interested in signing Dan James.
The report came out just hours after James performed poorly in Manchester United’s opening game of the season and was substituted at half-time.
There was a predictable social media response, with Red Devils fans fed up with James’ uninspiring displays calling on the club to snap Leeds’ hands off and take whatever money is offered.
In the short term, selling does not help United. Winger is a position where we are already low, with Tahith Chong sent out on loan, and no new player signed.
Even if a new winger comes in, James will be needed as cover, a role which actually suits him better than being pushed into a role as a starter.
Perhaps a quick sale may help James, to go out of the spotlight, but it won’t benefit United in any way.
Zaha taught us a lesson
United have given up on wingers far too easily in the post-Fergie era considering we have signed so few of them.
Memphis Depay was let go after 18 months at the club, and he has gone onto have a strong career for Lyon.
At the weekend United were taught a harsh lesson from another. Wilfried Zaha had his best display against us yet.
He never got a fair chance under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal did not use him either, sanctioning his sale for a fee reported by the MEN to be just £6 million.
Zaha has gone onto become one of the Premier League’s most consistent performers with Crystal Palace, and is a case of ‘what if’ for United.
Seven years on after he left United, he managed to prove a thorn in our side at the weekend.
Don’t quit on James
Dan James has had just one season at Manchester United, in which he was over-played, and lost some of his confidence.
He can be far too one-dimensional and lacks invention, but it is too early to write him off.
United paid just £15 million to sign him. It’s small-change. Quitting on him now gains United nothing, unless we really are that desperate for cash.
There are options available to United. The club could decide to loan James out, leaving us short admittedly, but it would allow him to rediscover his confidence.
Or the coaching staff can work a little bit harder to develop James and find a game plan which suits him better.
James is better utilised as an impact substitute, or playing against teams which are expected to have higher possession than United.
But if the club quit on him now, it risks biting us later on.
He’s frustrating, that’s obvious, and it may be a couple of years before United really see the best of him. But the club have not put him in a position to succeed yet.
It also sends the wrong message out to other young talents the club want to join, that they could be discarded after just 12 months. United should be better than that.
Let him leave for a small fee and do not be surprised if he comes back and haunts United in the same way to Zaha.
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