Marcelo Bielsa insists Daniel James transfer saga won't affect Leeds United as Huw Jenkins quits Swansea City

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa insisted the aborted signing of Daniel James would not negatively affect the club’s season as the fall-out from Thursday’s debacle continued with the resignation of Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins.

By Phil Hay
Saturday, 2nd February 2019, 8:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:09 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Jenkins quit his post tonight with a scathing attack on the management of Swansea less than 48 hours after James’ proposed move Leeds dramatically fell through.

The winger was left sat at Elland Road as Thursday’s 11pm January deadline passed after City refused at the last minute to sign off a loan to United until the end of the season.

Swansea’s owners are understood to have approved the move, which would have become permanent for £7m in the summer if Leeds were promoted, but the transfer collapsed amid strong suggestions that Jenkins was opposed to the loss of the 21-year-old Wales international and had failed to answer frantic phone calls to him.

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The mess of James’ planned switch left Bielsa without any outfield signings at the end of January but the Argentinian was philosophical about missing out on the winger, who passed medical on Thursday afternoon and was in position to sign several hours before the deadline.

Speaking after Leeds’ 3-1 defeat to Norwich City, Bielsa said: “I’m not disappointed.

“He was coming to the club to be a possibility on the wings but as I said several times, with all the other players who play on the sides we can find the right solution.

“I can’t deny that he would have been another option for our offensive play but I don’t see the fact that he couldn’t come as an obstacle for us.”

Swansea looked set to lose four major players on deadline day - James, Wilfried Bony, Leroy Fer and Jefferson Montero - but Fer’s intended switch to Aston Villa was also blocked at the death.

City are battling to cut their wage bill after relegation from the Premier League and Jenkins ended a 17-year reign as chairman after their 2-0 loss to Bristol City today.

In a pointed statement, Jenkins said: “Gradually over the last few seasons my role as chairman providing leadership and direction has been eroded away. Finally I can sit back no longer and hide behind my position and stay true to myself and my beliefs.

“It has taken me some time to finally come to this decision but the current atmosphere within the football club on and off the football field saddens me very much and I find it very difficult to fight on in a football club I love but can no longer control.”

James was not included in Swansea’s squad for their clash with Bristol City having remained in Yorkshire after the transfer to Leeds fell through.

He is expected to resume training next week and Leeds will consider making a fresh offer for him when the summer window opens.