Dan James reflects on prospect of facing Leeds United for Manchester United in front of packed stands

Manchester United winger Dan James has opened up on the prospect of facing Leeds United - the club he so nearly joined - in front of packed stands next weekend.

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 5:44 pm

James was all set to sign for Leeds from Swansea City on the final day of the January 2019 transfer window.

The winger had already passed a Whites medical and completed work with United’s media department and was only awaiting confirmation of the deal.

The Welsh international was set to arrive initially on loan with a view to a permanent switch in a deal worth around £9m if Leeds were promoted to the Premier League.

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EXCITED: Manchester United winger Dan James, pictured during Saturday's pre-season friendly against Everton ahead of next weekend's Premier League opener against Leeds United at Old Trafford. Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images.

Yet a late disagreement over the payment of a loan fee and the refusal of former Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins to sign off the deal led to the transfer collapsing as the 11pm deadline passed.

Just over four months later, James then left Swansea to join Manchester United on a five-year-deal for an initial fee of around £15m.

Leeds were still in the Championship at the time but stormed to promotion as champions the following season and James featured for the Red Devils in both of last season's Premier League clashes against the Whites.

But both fixtures were played in front of empty stands due to restrictions in the fight against coronavirus and 22-year-old James is now relishing the prospect of facing the Whites in front of packed stands.

The Whites will face their arch rivals in next Saturday's Premier League opener at Old Trafford which is due to be witnessed by nearly 76,000 fans inside Old Trafford, including 3,000 supporters from Leeds.

"I can't wait," said James, speaking to manutd.com.

"I think everyone is exactly the same.

"What a game to have first, Leeds United.

“I think us as well as them last season for the fans were gutted.

“It will be a great atmosphere and I'm sure it's one both teams are really looking forward to."

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Thank you Laura Collins