Leeds could repeat James disaster with AWB

Leeds United are seemingly looking to strengthen ahead of the January transfer window, with manager Jesse Marsch in need of further recruits to help in the bid to stave off the drop.

One area that the Whites could well look to address is at full-back, with 90min having reported earlier this month that sporting director Victor Orta has shown ‘interest’ in signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka from rivals Manchester United.

The 25-year-old – who made the move to Old Trafford on a £50m deal back in 2019 – is seemingly set to be allowed to depart in the New Year, with the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United and the defender’s former club, Crystal Palace, all named as potential suitors.

While pundit Jamie Carragher previously lauded the Englishman as the “best one-on-one defender for a full-back in the world” back in 2020, the former Selhurst Park starlet has endured a real fall from grace since then, with it perhaps unwise for Orta and co to pursue a move.

The Croydon-born dud has been unable to nail down a regular role in the side for the Red Devils this season, having made just two appearances in all competitions under Erik ten Hag thus far.

Although the right-back did register an assist on his return to the starting lineup against Burnley last week, he has rarely offered much in an attacking sense in recent years, with only two goals and just 11 assists to his name in 128 games in total.

Those woes no doubt stem from the defender’s struggles in possession, with the £90k-per-week man having been branded “useless on the ball” by Paul Scholes last year, as he ranks in just the top 33% for pass completion among those in his position in Europe, as well as in only the bottom 10% for progressive passes.

Leeds will no doubt be wary of poaching any more seemingly unwanted figures from their foes at the Theatre of Dreams, with the Yorkshire side having been stung by their recent capture of Dan James.

The pacy Welshman – who had come close to moving to Elland Road in January 2019 – was snapped up by Marcelo Bielsa on a £25m deal last summer, albeit with that switch having subsequently failed to bare fruit.

Can you get 100% on this Leeds World Cup transfer quiz?

Question 1. After starring for England at the 2002 World Cup, how much did Leeds sell Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for?

The 25-year-old scored four goals and registered five assists in 37 games in all competitions last term, although struggled to truly warrant that hefty price tag, having been on the receiving end of stinging criticism from former Leeds defender, Ian Harte back in March:

“Let’s be honest, if he didn’t have the pace, he wouldn’t play in the Premier League. He doesn’t have the knowledge or the know-how. It’s just head down and run. He’s got unbelievable pace, but like Adama Traore, he needs to learn to slow his legs down to get the cross in.

“The majority of games I’ve seen, they end up going over and across the crossbar. Signing him from United for £25m when they had him for four million – he’s done ok, he’s got raw pace but I’m not a massive fan.”

That verdict appears to have been shared by both Marsch and Orta, with James having subsequently been shipped off on loan to newly-promoted Fulham during the recent window – just a year after joining his parent club.

The decision to prise the former Swansea City speedster from Manchester has seemingly already backfired for the club, with those at Elland Road potentially set to repeat their mistake if they opt to turn to Wan-Bissaka in 2023.

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