If Daniel James was to move to Leeds United this transfer window it would only be on loan, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds forward and boyhood Whites fan did not rule out a move becoming permanent next summer if the Welshman is still surplus to requirements at Manchester United.

Phil Hay of the Athletic reported on Thursday that the Whites are ready to move for James if Manchester United decide to make him available.

James was extremely close to completing a deadline day move to Elland Road in January 2019 before Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins blocked the deal at the last minute.

With Leeds failing to win promotion, the 22-year-old then moved to Manchester United in June 2019 in a reported £15million deal.

Asked by Football Insider what type of deal he would expect James to leave Old Trafford on this window, Whelan said: “I think a loan makes more sense right now for both parties.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Manchester United sure don’t want to lose a very young good prospect and we don’t know how their injuries are going to pan out.

“There might be a call-back option, I’m sure that will be involved as well.

“I think a loan move for both parties is the sensible move with a young player like that. If he has a great season and is still surplus to requirements then a deal might be done next summer.”

James played 46 games across all competitions last season but has fallen down the pecking order with the emergence of Mason Greenwood.

The winger was dragged off at half-time in United’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace and has not made Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 18 man squad since.

In other news, Football Insider can exclusively REVEAL Leeds United are plotting a last gasp move for a Norwich City star.