Angus Kinnear has blamed “internal boardroom politics” at Swansea City for Leeds United’s failure to sign Daniel James - and insisted the club were right to throw everything at a deal for the winger.
James could turn out at Elland Road for Swansea tonight, less than two weeks after his proposed loan to Leeds fell through, and Kinnear described United as “unwitting victims” of a high level fall-out at the Liberty Stadium.
City’s American owners were ready to sanction the departure of James on a temporary deal which would have become permanent for a fee of £7m had Leeds been promoted to the Premier League.
Former chairman Huw Jenkins, however, refused to finalise the paperwork in the hours before the January deadline and James, who had already passed a medical with Leeds, sat helplessly at Elland Road as the 11pm cut-off elapsed.
Jenkins resigned from his post as Swansea chairman 48 hours later.
The failure to sign James left United with just one addition to their senior squad at the end of the window - goalkeeper Kiko Casilla who arrived on a free transfer from Real Madrid - and Leeds pursued James without lining up fall-back options.
The 21-year-old, however, was Bielsa’s first-choice target and managing director Kinnear insisted the club had not missed “any obvious opportunities” in the window.
Writing in tonight’s programme, Kinnear did not name James directly but said: “While the January window began brightly by securing the services of Kiko Casilla, it ended in rather bizarre circumstances when we became the unwitting victim of internal boardroom politics preventing several months of scouting and negotiation from coming to fruition.
“Supporters have asked why the deal was left so late in the window, which ultimately is the prerogative of the selling club, and why there were no alternative options in place. This is down to a combination of the exacting standards Marcelo and Victor applied to selecting players that could immediately improve the current squad and the limited talent pool that is made available in the January transfer window.
“Transfer speculation fills thousands of inches of media coverage but when we analyse the Championship business completed we are satisfied that we haven’t missed any opportunities.”