Farke could supercharge James in Leeds swoop for £50k-p/w PL dynamo

Leeds United are currently vying for automatic promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking in the Championship this season.

The Whites are attempting to move above the likes of Southampton and Ipswich Town to secure second place behind Leicester City, who are already a staggering 14 points clear of the club.

There are seven points between Ipswich in second and Leeds in fourth, with the Saints sandwiched between them, and 19 matches left in the regular season.

Championship automatic promotion race (via Sofascore)



Matches played


















Daniel Farke could boost his side’s chances of pushing up in the division by dipping into the market before the January transfer window slams shut.

It opened just over two weeks ago and the Yorkshire-based outfit are yet to make a senior addition to their squad. However, they appear to be in need of a full-back.

Leeds’ search for a full-back

The Whites allowed experienced defender Luke Ayling to join Championship rivals Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season earlier this month.

He had played 14 times and started eight games for Farke during the first half of the campaign but the head coach sanctioned an exit for the right-back to go and play more regularly.

That came after the club also opted to cut Djed Spence’s loan spell with the side short by five months. The England U21 international joined from Tottenham Hotspur on a season-long loan last summer and returned to the Premier League outfit at the start of January.

Phil Hay, of The Athletic, recently reported that Farke was unhappy with his performance levels on the pitch and there were minor concerns over his punctuality for team meetings and training sessions.


With two right-backs out of the door, Leeds could now turn their attention to a move for a full-back and they do reportedly have an interest in Nottingham Forest ace Neco Williams.

Speaking on The Square Ball Podcast earlier this month, the aforementioned Hay mentioned that the Whites like the Wales international as they eye up a move for a defender before the window shuts.

However, the journalist did add the caveat that Nuno Espirito Santo, who replaced Steve Cooper at the City Ground, is a fan of the right-back and is not keen to part ways with him, despite the defender having only started 24 of his 42 Premier League appearances since the start of last season.

This means that it could be a difficult deal to complete as Leeds would need to convince the Portuguese boss to cash in on the young dynamo, or loan him out.

If Farke can land a swoop for Williams, though, he could supercharge current Whites star Daniel James, who would line up ahead of the right-back on the flank.

Dan James’ electric performances this season

The former Manchester United forward spent last season on loan with Fulham in the Premier League but has returned to Elland Road, at a lower level, and acquitted himself brilliantly.

22/23 Premier League

James for Fulham (via Sofascore)







Big chances created


Key passes per game


He has become an established starter on the right wing for the German head coach with a string of impressive performances in the second tier.

James is currently on nine goals and five assists in 25 Championship appearances, and only Crysencio Summerville (12) has scored more goals for Leeds in the division.

The 26-year-old whiz has created ten ‘big chances’ for his teammates in total, which suggests that his fellow attackers have let him down at times as he only has five assists, and made 1.5 key passes per game – the third-most in the current squad.


He currently ranks within the top 15% of Championship attacking midfielders and wingers for assists (0.25) per 90 and the top 11% for non-penalty goals (0.46) per 90.

These statistics show that the Leeds wizard is already one of the top performing attackers in the league, due to the impressive rate at which he chips in with goals and assists, but Farke could supercharge his talents by signing the exceptionally progressive Williams at right-back.

Neco Williams’ Championship excellence

The Nottingham Forest defender spent the second half of the 2021/22 campaign on loan with Fulham from Liverpool in the Championship and caught the eye with his sublime performances.


He started 14 league matches for the Cottagers on their way to the title and showcased his defensive quality with 3.9 tackles and interceptions per game and a duel success rate of 53%.

Archie Gray has been Farke’s first-choice option at right-back so far this season for Leeds and the 17-year-old gem has made 2.8 tackles and interceptions per match alongside a duel success rate of 51% across 25 league outings.

This suggests that Williams, who former manager Cooper claimed has an “incredibly high ceiling”, could offer more from a defensive perspective due to his superior success rate in physical battles and his ability to win possession back for his side through tackles and interceptions more frequently.

As well as being a solid defender, the £50k-per-week whiz is a progressive passer who could supercharge James by being able to find him in dangerous positions far more regularly than Gray has.

Championship statistics per 90

Neco Williams (21/22)

Archie Gray (23/24)

Progressive passes



Progressive carries



Shot-creating actions



Successful take-ons






As you can see in the table above, Williams could provide his international teammate with many more opportunities to wreak havoc on the opposition’s defence due to how often he is able to progress the ball from right-back – via carries, take-ons, and passes.

This means that James could, if he makes the most of those added touches in the final third, supercharge his statistics during the second half of the campaign and add to his already impressive output of goals and assists in the Championship.

Therefore, Farke must push for Leeds to secure a deal for Williams before the end of the window, if at all possible, as the former Liverpool youngster could be a terrific addition to the squad and one that elevates the effectiveness of the attack due to his fantastic build-up play.

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