as to the james sitation, he did something on twitch where he said he had to go somewhere he was "wanted":
the echo also said he and delph had been told by the club that they could leave:
so, yes, probably more than a little speculation, and perhaps at least partially built on previous between him and benitez at real madrid, but his own words at least suggest that he's not wanted (or at least doesn't *feel* wanted). either way, he's in the last year of his two-year contract (although we have a one-year extension option, according to the press when we signed him) so i suspect it's a case of see if there are offers and whether he wants to go.
either we keep a quality player for another year, or we lose a player who doesn't want to be here and would free up a high wage (i've seen everything from £90k/week to £200k/week, so i'd expect the reality to be somewhere in the middle). i'm good either way