By George Overhill

24th Sep, 2022 | 6:42pm

Dan James didn’t want to leave Leeds United and the “fiasco” which saw him go while the club failed to bring in a striker “marred” the transfer window, according to Adam Pope.

The Welsh winger left for Fulham on loan late on deadline day, originally with Bamba Dieng coming in from Marseille as replacement, but as that deal collapsed and pursuits for Cody Gakpo and Ben Brereton Diaz failed James was still allowed to leave in what the BBC reporter says was a “mistake”.

He didn’t like the way the end of the window went, both in terms of the Whites leaving themselves short in attack, and with how the 24-year-old appeared to be pushed out when he was settling down in the area.

Speaking to Ger Lynch on the Leeds United – The View YouTube channel on Friday 23 September [3min 10sec] Pope said on the subject of being left short: “I think up front there’s no doubt about it Ger, and I think the Dan James… a bit of a fiasco has added to that as well.

“You’ve got a player who’s been experienced in playing up front, even though we know it’s not his favourite position or his best position, but to allow that to happen was a mistake.

“And I think the club have rowed back on the original stuff they were saying about ‘one in, one out’, saying now it’s the best thing for him and the club that he went. I do think that is a mistake and it’s left them light.

“Every time I look at [the window] I go, ‘Striker, please’. It had to be there that they produced something and they didn’t, and that marred the window for me.”

He added later about James [8min 30sec]: “I don’t think he wanted to go from what I’m hearing from people close to him. He’d bought a new house, with the baby, he was settling down… a really strange, strange decision.”

Mess

The Elland Road hierarchy will want to move on from the events at the end of the summer as much as possible because it didn’t show them in a great light.

The mixed messages sent out afterwards as to why James needed to go suggested they knew a mistake had been made and they couldn’t decide the best way to respond.

Willy Gnonto, fresh from an encouraging cameo against England on Friday night (23 September), may turn out to be a decent option in attack before the end of the year, as might Sonny Perkins if he carries on the way he is going, but in either case it would be by accident rather than design.

And it is hard to escape the feeling that James ended up as collateral damage as the club lurched from one move to another.

It can’t be denied that he hasn’t been as effective as would have been hoped considering the money it cost to bring him in from Manchester United a year ago.

But it isn’t his fault that his teammates up front have been injured so often just as it isn’t his fault that Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch both pressed him into action out of position as a result.

One thing that can’t be levelled against him is a lack of effort, as the results may be erratic but the energy is always there.

So it is little surprise that Pope feels disappointed with how things played out for the Welsh international on a personal level.

In other Leeds United news, a Barcelona legend has tipped one Whites player for a “great future”.