Leeds United have confirmed the permanent signing of Daniel James from Manchester United, in a deal believed to be worth £25million.
A long time target of Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds, James has put pen to paper on a five-year contract which will keep him in West Yorkshire until 2026.
The move ends a two-and-a-half year transfer saga between Leeds and James, who were one ignored phone call away from joining up in a loan deal in January 2019, with the winger pictured at Elland Road holding a Leeds shirt before the last minute deal fell through and James returned to Swansea. Manchester United signed James for £15million the following summer.
After a promising start at Old Trafford, however, the Welsh international fell down the pecking order and failed to assert himself in a first-team on a consistent basis, with confidence dropping.
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo looked to be the final straw for James and Manchester United, who deemed the player surplus to requirements following Ronaldo’s return, coupled with the rapidly increasing development of Mason Greenwood.
Bielsa and Victor Orta have been huge admirers of James ever since his time at Swansea and have kept a close eye on his development at Manchester United. The Whites were able to move quickly once James became available and were able to negotiate a fee within a matter of days, again emphasising just how highly they rate the 23-year old.
The arrival of James will add depth to an area of the first-team lacking in huge quality past the obvious first choices. The promising under-23s performances of Crysencio Summerville have catapulted him into contention for first-team minutes, however a lack of first-team experience has raise questions as to wether the 19-year old can make an instant step up.
Furthermore, Helder Costa’s stagnation since Leeds’ promotion has meant that the Portuguese winger has struggled to make any impact from the bench for the last season or so. Costa may well leave during deadline day with Valencia reportedly interested in the winger.
A transfer two and a half years in the making, Bielsa and Orta will understandably be thrilled with the long awaited arrival of James. Orta, Leeds’ Director of Football said: “As a player we feel Daniel is an excellent fit for a Marcelo Bielsa team, he is quick, direct and works hard – we look forward to him joining up with the squad, finally!”.