Ex-Swansea chief lifts lid on James' failed Leeds move and Man Utd transfer


Former Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has lifted the lid on Daniel James’ failed transfer to Leeds, and the winger’s subsequent move to Man Utd.

James had caught the eye of clubs across the Championship and Premier League with his blistering pace.

Leeds were keen on adding the youngster to their squad in the January 2019 window, and even had James pose with a club shirt after all-but sealing the deal.

However the transfer broke down at the 11th hour, and Jenkins has revealed he did not sanction the move because “there was nothing in it for us”.

James was disappointed when his deadline day move to Leeds fell through
James was disappointed when his deadline day move to Leeds fell through

“I recall with Dan James there were six people interfering, trying to make a decision that day,” Jenkins told  WalesOnline.

“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.”

But the winger earned a bigger move to Man Utd the following summer
But the winger earned a bigger move to Man Utd the following summer

James’ failed move was documented in the Amazon series on Leeds titled Take Us Home .

He had already passed a medical and signed personal terms, with Leeds needing just the seal of approval from Swansea chiefs.

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The documentary then showed Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta breaking down in tears in frustration as the day wore on, before the deadline passed without getting the deal over the line.

Swansea’s decision to keep hold of James was down to their belief the player’s value would continue to rise with each performance.

Not only that, but Jenkins also felt James could earn a bigger move, rather than join one of their Championship rivals mid-season.

And he was eventually proved right.

Leeds’ bid was thought to be in the region of £10million, with James later moving to Man Utd the following summer for an initial £15m.

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He added: “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 McBurnie.

“We got Dan for £75,000 from Hull, Oli for £100,00 from Bradford. Not a bad bit of business.”

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