James arrived at Old Trafford in 2019 as Solskjaer’s first major United signing after the Norwegian succeeded Jose Mourinho as the club’s permanent manager.
The 24-year-old winger failed to make an impact at Old Trafford after his £15m move from Swansea City, with James only scoring nine times in 74 appearances for United.
James left United last summer on deadline day and completed a sensational £25m move to Leeds, with the Wales international struggling to live up to his price tag.
The former United and Swansea player has made 18 Premier League appearances under Marcelo Bielsa’s men and only managed to score twice and register two assists.
Martial, on the other hand, is unsettled at Old Trafford and is pushing for a January exit after a lack of regular first-team football at United.
The 26-year-old United forward, who is under contract until 2024, has attracted interest from Newcastle, Tottenham, Barcelona, Sevilla and Juventus.
The Athletic now reports that Solskjaer wanted to offload Martial ahead of James, but no clubs were willing to meet United’s asking price for the France international.
Solskjaer, who was sacked by United last November, had informed James he was still part of his plans after the stunning return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, United’s hierarchy reportedly made an executive decision to sell James and cash in on the Welshman’s value.
Despite Solskjaer’s reassurance to James over his future at the club, it is believed a United director told the winger he was seventh in the Red Devils’ attacking order and he should leave for Leeds instead.
However, Solskjaer had planned for James to be ahead of Martial and wanted the France striker to leave Old Trafford.
Martial has told United interim manager Ralf Rangnick he wants to leave the club and the Red Devils could sanction a loan deal if his salary is fully covered and a fee is put up for the player.
Rangnick claimed that the United star refused to be included in his squad for his side’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
However, Martial has since hit back at the interim United boss and claimed he would “never refuse” to play for the club, despite wanting to leave Old Trafford.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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