Daniel James endured something of a turbulent debut campaign at Manchester United.
The Wales international flew out of the traps after completing a transfer to Old Trafford from Swansea City little more than a year ago, with the youngster scoring three times in his first four appearances for the club.
He is now said to be valued at £65 million, the most valuable Welsh player currently in the game.
However, with United in transition, James had some sticky patches and netted just one further goal in his first season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The club have been heavily linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund ace Jadon Sancho of late, and they are still keen to take the 20-year-old to the North West of England this summer, despite Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc’s recent comments.
The Dortmund chief said: “We plan with Jadon Sancho. He’ll play for us next season. The decision is final. I think that answers all of the questions.”
That potential transfer would of course have a significant impact on James, who will hope to get regular action next season in a bid to be in peak condition ahead of next year’s European Championships.
So what does the future hold for the former Swansea man and what would United’s planned Sancho swoop mean for the 10-cap Wales international?
What did you make of James’ debut season at United?
I think on the whole, it still has to be judged as a success. Having only arrived for £15million, there wasn’t much expectation on James and he probably repaid that fee in his first few games, scoring three in his first four.
Okay, his form dipped quite a bit later in the campaign, but he was still a useful asset to United for much of the winter.
He can build on this as a debut season.
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What have the fans made of him?
They really took a liking to him from the off. I think many felt sympathy for James because his dad passed away just before the transfer and his story was one everyone could empathise with.
When he scored on his United debut, the fans were right behind him and stayed in support of him until the more recent struggles. I think many remain patient though and will back James next season.
After such a good start, what would you put his recent struggles down to?
I think teams worked James out to an extent. It soon became clear that pace was his main asset and quick defenders can cope with that.
He hasn’t been helped by the fact most of his football for United has come on the right flank, where he is more predictable and less able to cut in and shoot, which is another strength.
The rise of Mason Greenwood has also been damaging for James. The 18-year-old has been a sensation on the right and is deservedly ahead of James in the pecking order.
Do you think he could be sent out on loan?
My understanding is that he won’t be sent out on loan.
Fellow United winger Tahith Chong is on the brink of a loan exit and with doubt surrounding the futures of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard, it would appear James is still very much a part of Solskjaer’s squad.
How could his United career be impacted by Jadon Sancho?
It may mean the end of James’ spell as United’s right winger and the start of a new role as Marcus Rashford’s left-wing cover, but really it should add more incentive for the Welshman to keep fighting for a place.
United are still eager to land Sancho, despite Dortmund’s recent statements that he’s going nowhere, so it may be an anxious wait for James.
There’s no doubt his playing time would be impacted if Sancho arrives.
What do you think the future holds for James in the short and long term?
It’s still early days and difficult to say, but United need squad players because of the huge number of games they play.
There’s no reason why James can’t grow into a role like that. He’s shown that he’s capable at this level.