Sometimes the waning days of the summer transfer window spits out some really, really nonsensical things that nonetheless are things that either happen or could happen. This might be one of those situations. Fabrizio Romano is reporting this morning that Spurs have discussed making a move for Leeds United attacking midfielder Dan James, who is also wanted by Everton.
Tottenham have discussed potential loan with buy option for Daniel James with Leeds last week — not an easy deal, also Everton asked for Dan. ⚪️ #THFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 29, 2022
Situation remains open, it’s up to the player — Leeds would be happy to keep James. #LUFC pic.twitter.com/HpJovLfe2x
Like, OK I get it. Tottenham want an attacking midfielder so Conte can have a bit more tactical flexibility depending on opposition. We’ve been asking for something like that too!
But... Dan James? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Yes, he’s positionally flexible and played a lot up top for Leeds as well as on the wing. He also has a real motor and could be an asset as a late-match substitute running against tired legs. But that’s not where Spurs really need help — they need someone who can play at the 10, or who can drop deeper into a more central role when needed. Secondly... he just wasn’t all that good last season. He had 4 goals and 4 assists in 2300 minutes. He had a pass completion percentage of 65% (although this is likely skewed slightly from playing as an advanced forward for part of the time). And again, while Leeds barely escaped relegation last season, he was a central part of their offense and managed a xG+xA/90 of just 0.31.
Yes, he’d be considered club-trained for Premier League purposes as he came up through Swansea City and I suppose that has some merit, but like Ben Davies and Matt Doherty, James is Welsh and would count as a foreign player for Champions League. And it’s hard to imagine that James would want to trade in regular minutes with a Leeds team that seems to be improving under Jesse Marsch for occasional spot minutes on loan for a season with Spurs.
I just don’t get it. You can maybe make an argument that James is an underrated footballer playing on a bad Leeds team last season. But even so, if Spurs need a creative midfield option, Ruslan Malinovskyi is right there, would be pretty cheap, and has a history of actually scoring goals in European competition. That seems like a pretty good option! I really don’t think they need another winger or deputy for Harry Kane unless Conte is really worried about rotation.
Conte has said recently that he would not sanction a loan for Bryan Gil unless Tottenham can bring in an attacking midfield replacement. This might be Spurs sounding out potential options to fill whatever meager minutes Gil would get at Spurs this season before letting him to to Valencia. We also know that Fabio Paratici operates on the “scattergun” approach to transfers, sounding out a whole host of them before narrowing down and focusing on one or two. This rumor might just be the club sounding out a list of options and he’s not a preferred target.
But I find it hard to fathom that there wouldn’t be better options out there. Keep looking, or just keep Bryan.