We're almost surprised it's taken twenty-one days of the month of January for this to happen. Serial clickbaiters HITC have juat run their first story of the month on Yeovil Town defender Tom James, connecting him with a move away from Huish Park. So, which club is attempting to lure the former Cardiff City academy player away? It would appear they don't know. They merely tell us that "several Championship clubs are planning moves" for him before the end of January and cite "sources close to the club" as telling them this. We are later told that clubs are "ready to make bids" for him.
That's about as much detail as you'll get out of them, narrowing the field down to merely 24 clubs at second tier level. And because they stop short of saying that a bid has gone into Huish Park, there is a slight flaw in their reporting, unless their "source close to the club" has wire-tapped the internal phones of the relevant Championship sides. Not even Leeds United have considered doing this (yet!)
HITC gained themselves a sizeable reputation last summer for churning out articles on Tom James, linking him with Celtic, (Glasgow) Rangers, AFC Bournemouth, Swansea City, Aston Villa, Brentford and Hull City and by the time we reached the end of August, they'd managed to publish 40 stories mentioning him as being the subject of interest from other clubs. Ironically, the club that they missed out mentioning - until it began to be carried by other websites - was West Bromwich Albion, who eventually had a confirmed bid of £400,000 accepted by Yeovil Town, but with the deal ultimately falling through. Eventually James stayed at Huish Park, with only the interest from the Baggies actually on the record.
Of course, it would be no surprise if clubs at that level were interested in Tom James - but that is something that Glovers fans will have known for the last six months, particularly with the West Brom bid being on the record. Local journalist Chris Spittles has stated today on Twitter that he has heard of Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City all making 'enquiries' about the defender. Swansea were heavily tipped as his destination last summer, just before the confirmed West Brom link came in. The connection with Preston is relatively new, although we have seen mentions of James on Twitter from fans of that club during the last week, with his name cropping up on their end of the rumourmill.
James has just six months left on his current Yeovil Town contract. However, as he is currently 22 years old, he would still command a fee if the club decided to reject any advances. That would be based on compensation for training and development during the two years that he's been with the club, and not an actual transfer fee, and so may be at a different level to what West Brom bid last summer.
As a guide, Luke Ayling's move from Yeovil Town to Bristol City in July 2014 in similar circumstances was reported as having cost City in the region of £200,000 to £250,000 although officially remained undisclosed. However, at that point, Ayling had been with Yeovil Town for two years longer than James, and had played a full season at Championship level, which would have strengthened the club's argument for a higher compensation fee when Bristol City came calling.
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