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Dan James finally comes to Leeds as three others depart
Wednesday, 1st Sep 2021 21:50 by Tim Whelan

It’s taken over two and a half years for Leeds to complete the signing of Dan James, but we’ve finally done it. The other business on the final day of the transfer window saw Helda Costa, Robbie Gotts and Jordan Stevens leaving the club.

Leeds completed the signing of James when he passed his medical on Tuesday, for a fee described as “undisclosed” on the official Leeds United website, and “£25m” by Sky Sports. Which unfortunately means a £10m profit for our friends from the wrong side of the Pennines, compared to the fee they paid to Swansea two years ago. No wonder the official Leeds site didn’t want to disclose the fee.

So it seems that the collapse of his transfer at the start of 2019 has cost us quite a bit extra. At the time James seemed devastated that he hadn’t moved to a bigger club, but the problem was a bit of internal politics at the Swansea end. Some of their board members didn’t want to sell, and they had managed to shift their biggest earner off the payroll earlier that day, so no longer needed the money.

Anyway, he’s finally at Leeds, he’s signed a five-year contract, and sounded very enthusiastic when he spoke to LUTV. “I’m glad everything is over the line now and I'm just looking forward to getting started. It's an amazing club, with an amazing history and a great group of lads. I know a few of them already and I've had some great chats with them already. I just can't wait to play in front of the Leeds fans.”

“I'm looking forward to getting going under Marcelo Bielsa, I think he's well known all around the world and everyone learns things off him, so I'm just looking forward to learning every day. It’s an exciting team, getting better and better every year with a great group of players and young players coming through as well. I definitely think the team will suit my type of play, it's high energy which is what I give and I had some tough games against them recently”.

Given Marcello Bielsa’s obsession with signing endless wingers it was no surprise to see Helda Costa finally becoming surplus to requirements, and he has gone to Spanish La Liga side Valencia CF on loan until the end of the 2021/22 season, with an option for the player to sign permanently at the Mestalla Stadium at the end of the agreement.

I’ve seen the facts and figures quoted as a €2m loan fee for a season, with an option to convert this to a permanent transfer next summer for €10m. We will remember Costa fondly for his contribution to our promotion season, and he also did well in our first few games back in the Prem, most notably in the win over Fulham.

But his confidence seemed to take a hit when we signed Raphinha to take his place, and he never managed to hit the same heights on his various substitute appearances and occasional starts since then. But we wish him well in Spain, not least because we need Valencia to make that permanent transfer so we can recoup at least some of his fee.

But even though Costa and Poveda have now gone out on loan, the squad is still well stocked with wingers, given the emergence of young Summerville and the option of playing Dallas as an attacking wide player if need be. Harrison and Raphinha are of course the current first choice on the flanks, but Leeds Live are claiming that Bielsa’s research has suggested that on average, he will have four players unavailable for any one game through injury or suspension.

They quote him as saying “In a league as long and demanding as the Premier League, everyone will get the chance to show their qualities and contribute.” But how will James be accommodated in the side when all these players are available? When Raphinha first arrived Bielsa hinted that he might try him as an attacking central midfielder, which could work given his proficiency with both feet, and would provide the extra bit of quality we need in that position.

The other two pieces of business on the final day of the window were the departures of Robbie Gotts and Jordan Stevens, who have both joined Barrow on permanent deals. At one time they were regarded as being among the most promising academy players, with Gotts making one first team appearance and Stevens, as well as being an unused substitute on many occasions.

But both players are now 21, and if they were going to break through into the first team on a regular basis they would have done so by now. We wish them well, and their presence at Barrow will give me something to look out for if and when I ever get round to venturing up their to tick that ground off for my ‘92’.


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