Why Everton should pursue a loan deal for Daniel James
According to a report by Football Insider (h/t Wales Online), Everton have joined Leeds United in the race to sign Manchester United winger Daniel James. Leeds United were heavily interested in signing him last summer but the deal did not materialize.
Everton are looking to loan the 23-year-old in the January transfer window. Manchester United may be more willing to let the winger grow if their interest in Jadon Sancho and Amad Diallo is resurrected. (h/t Wales Online)
Daniel James started his senior career in 2016 at Swansea City after getting called up from their youth squad. The winger did not feature for the Swans when they were in the Premier League but impressed for them in the 2018/19 Championship season.
The Welsh winger largely impressed in his 39 outings for the Swans that season, which made Manchester United buy him in the summer of 2019 for £16million. After appearing in 46 matches for United in his first season, the winger has slowly gone down Solskjaer’s pecking order.
He has only made 3 appearances in the league this season and is largely a backup winger down the right-hand side. James has also been capped 17 times for the Welsh national team.
Daniel James will offer a new dynamic to Everton
Carlo Ancelotti’s iconic Christmas tree formation has been occasionally put to use this season by Everton. The 4-3-2-1 formation used by Ancelotti most famously during his time at AC Milan features a narrow midfield with three flat midfielders and two attacking midfielders to supplement the striker.
However, Everton have still stuck to starting Richarlison and James Rodriguez on the wings in most matches. The ‘low block’ mostly put to use by smaller teams and the importance of pace and power in modern-day English football probably forces Ancelotti to stick with deploying wingers instead of attacking midfielders.
In that regard, Daniel James is a proper touchline hugger. The Welsh winger can be deployed on both wings when needed and his pace and directness will offer the Toffees a new dynamic down the flanks. Richarlison and James Rodriguez tend to prefer playing centrally instead of out wide.
Both of Everton’s designated wingers Alex Iwobi and Bernard have also not been preferred by Ancelotti, as they have made only 2 combined starts in the league this season. However, the fact that Iwobi has come on for 6 out 8 league matches shows the Italian’s willingness to use the flanks.
In that regard, a loan move for Daniel James makes sense if Everton want to try out something new and bombard the opposition’s wings. The Welsh winger is a menace down the flanks with his directness and can supplement Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a way Everton’s attacking midfielders cannot.
With Ancelotti hesitant to use his 4-3-2-1 formation and wanting to use the flanks, especially late on in games, a winger like Daniel James can be the game-changer they need from the bench.
A loan deal for the Welshman in January would add depth to Everton’s squad that faces a stuffed fixture list. For James, minutes at Everton would also benefit his chances to be Wales’ main man in the UEFA Euros next summer.