Former Premier League Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips has downplayed the chances of Everton signing Dan James on loan from Manchester United, but feels that if such a move does materialise, it would represent good business by the Toffees.

Everton were previously reported to be keen on the Wales winger, who had been dubbed a ‘speed demon’. He has since been praised by Phillips as the ideal backup or rotational option to Richarlison.

The Merseysiders had previously gone head-to-head with United to sign the pacey winger from Swansea in the summer of 2019 but were ultimately unsuccessful, with the lure of Old Trafford proving too attractive.

However, James has struggled for minutes this season, having made just three Premier League starts among five appearances in all competitions despite being a more familiar face in his debut campaign in Manchester. [Transfermarkt]

When asked if James would represent a shrewd acquisition by the Toffees, Phillips told Football Insider:

When he went to United last season he was buzzing and full of life but he hit a brick wall. He has fallen away a bit but he is a young lad. He is going to have tough periods.

I would like to see him stay and fight for his place at Manchester United but his involvement this season suggests to me that he is not really a big part of Solskjaer’s plans.

It will have been a disappointing start to the season for him but I cannot see Manchester United allowing him to leave for Everton. But it would be a sensible move by Everton to sign James as backup for Richarlison.

Football Insider previously stated that Everton are looking to ‘add pace and penetration to their attack in January after the unavailability of Richarlison for three Premier League matches nullified their cutting edge and coincided with consecutive defeats’.

Read Everton Verdict

Previous reports claimed that any January raid on the Red Devils will likely be on the basis of a loan acquisition. This may be to offset risk, as James has struggled to adapt to life in the English top flight – he has only managed four goals and seven assists since joining in 2019.

Everton would certainly do well to avoid a permanent fee for James. His evident struggles in recent months present a high level of risk to Everton if they parted with a transfer fee for him, so a loan is far more preferable.