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Reasons revealed for Daniel James joining Man Utd & not Leeds

Published on: 29 May 2020

Former Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has revealed why Daniel James ended up at Manchester United and not Leeds, with two transfer sagas having played out in 2019.

During the January window of that year, it appeared as though a Wales international winger was destined to make his way to Elland Road.

A deal was agreed, with James going as far as being pictured with a Leeds shirt as he waited on the formalities of a move to be completed.

The Whites would never get discussions over the line, with Swansea eventually deciding that they would hold out for a better deal than the one being offered by a Championship rival.

That represented quite a gamble at the time, with there no guarantee that bigger money would be put on the table for a highly-rated academy graduate.

A few months later, though, a £15 million ($19m) approach was made by those at Old Trafford and James – who is considered to boast the “inner spirit” to succeed with the Red Devils – was off to form part of a star-studded squad in Manchester.

Jenkins is pleased to see the jet-heeled forward getting the recognition he deserves, with Swansea’s belief in his potential and market value being richly rewarded.

“When I was first invited to run the club the directors gave me a lot of freedom,” Jenkins told WalesOnline.

“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.

"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.”

James made a flying start to his time with United, recording three goals through his first four appearances, but has found the going a little tougher since then and admits there is still much for him to prove at the Theatre of Dreams.


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