Jesse Marsch explanation to Sky Sports on Dan James exit from Leeds United adds to strange feel
Jesse Marsch’s latest comments on Dan James’ loan exit from Leeds United on transfer deadline day appear to have been made to quell any suspected unrest, but might have only done the opposite.
The Welshman, signed at great expense from Manchester United only a year earlier before a difficult season where he struggled to make an impact and was often played out of position up front, went to Fulham for the campain in the final hours on Thursday (1 September).
He left despite what Phil Hay believes was no real necessity from a financial point of view because additional funding in the form of the wages that would be saved were not necessary to bring in teenage forward Wilfried Gnonto like they would have been for the failed pursuits of Cody Gakpo or Bamba Dieng, but the manager is now fronting up over the affair.
Speaking to Sky Sports the Whites boss said: “When it came to the Dan James situation that was a collective decision and one that I totally support.
“From a technical perspective, the concern was… the thought process was, is Dan going to get enough minutes that he wanted to help him in his career, and where we were at, and then what it was going to mean for him in his preparation for the World Cup.
“And so then the decision was made to consider moving him, and then when we found the right situation for everybody we decided to move forward on it.
“But in the end, again, I think every decision that was made in the process was made by the group, and I was very supportive of every decision that we made.
Asked if it was a “football decision” he hesitated and said: “Yeah, I think it was a football decision. And it was one that wasn’t easy to make because we really like Dan, and we value him as a person and as a player, but in the end I think one that suits us best in the moment.
“And certainly Dan.”
If that was difficult to read clearly that is probably because he didn’t speak that naturally since it felt like the American was trying to think as fast as he was talking in order to stay on message and project a united front.
That’s all very well and may be the only thing he can do right now, short of admit he was unhappy to lose an option he has often turned to, for no reason.
The way deadline day transpired was a mess from start to finish, with the decision to bring forward a January deal for Gnonto made in desperation at the death.
And most fans are unlikely to be buying it now that the manager has come out to pretend he was totally behind the whole thing.
The hierarchy didn’t mess things up on purpose but they did end up making a mess of things, and it certainly feels like they’ve now told the manager they need his help to run damage control.
Marsch looks to be doing so as a good company man, but frustrated fans are likely to see through it, with the 48-year-old essentially protesting too much in an attempt to seem positive about a negative situation situation.
Ultimately Leeds United didn’t sign a striker who is ready to help now, lost a wide attacking option for no obvious benefit, and put undue pressure on a teenager they weren’t planning to even bring in it, and it won’t make supporters feel much better for the coach to be sent out to pretend everything is fine afterwards.
In other Leeds United news, a recent squad change is the latest slap in the face for one highly-rated Whites talent.