Daniel James came within minutes of joining Championship side and rivals, Leeds United, during the 2019 January transfer window.
As per GOAL, Swansea Chairman, Huw Jenkins has given his account for why the young Welsh attacker ended up at United and not Leeds.
Daniel James, 22, came within minutes of joining Leeds United on deadline day during the January 2019 window. James was even pictured wearing a Leeds shirt. Had it not have been for the failure to get the paperwork over the line, James’ footballing path could have looked very different.
After the moves’ failure in January, Chairman, Jenkins decided to hold out and wait for a higher fee than originally offered by Leeds United. His gamble paid off when Manchester United entered the fray just a couple of months later.
United bid a reported £15mil for the youngster’s services, according to Sky Sports. The approach was accepted and James later made the switch from Swansea to United.
James saw his United career take-off after scoring on his debut against fierce league rivals, Chelsea. More recently, James bagged one of the last goals scored (against LASK in the Europa League) before all professional sport was halted across Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked about the two sagas surrounding James, Chairman Jenkins explained, as quoted by WalesOnline.“When I was first invited to run the club the directors gave me a lot of freedom,”
“We had a good system in place, they had trust in me and provided good support. People like Martin Morgan, Leigh Dineen were excellent. With the changes, gradually more and more people were getting involved. I recall with Dan James there were six people interfering, trying to make a decision that day.
“I was told a deal was in place for Dan to go to Leeds. It made no sense to me, not for Swansea City financially because there was nothing in it for us.
“As much as others felt the deal could have been done and we could have got something out of it, to me Dan going up to Leeds at the time, risk injury, us rely on a summer transfer, was wrong. I wasn’t even sure Leeds would pay the loan fee until the summer.
“I spoke to Graham Potter about it. Remember, part of his mantra was to bring through younger players while making the team competitive.
“Dan was an important part of that. Graham wanted him to remain until the end of the season and play for Swansea. In playing regularly for us, we felt we would get more value out of any future deal.
“Not just for the club financially, but for Dan himself. And, of course, he has done really well at Man United and also for Wales.
“Whether he is playing well or not, Dan has this inner spirit, believes he is a good player. That’s important, you need that mentality as a Manchester United footballer.
Jenkins concluded by saying: “So Swansea City got a much bigger transfer fee, Dan got a better move. That Leeds business was the final thing I did as Swansea chairman, my parting shot if you like, the last involvement. Although, of course, shortly after I left they also got £20m from Sheffield United for [Oli] McBurnie.
“We got Dan for £75,000 from Hull, Oli for £100,00 from Bradford. Not a bad bit of business.”