Manchester United winger Daniel James opens up on collapse of move to Leeds United from Swansea City
DANIEL JAMES has opened up on the collapse of his move to Leeds United from Swansea City with the winger throwing his phone in frustration when the deal fell through.
Hull-born James was all set to join Leeds from Swansea on the final day of the January 2019 transfer window with the winger awaiting confirmation of the deal at Elland Road having passed a medical and completed work with United’s media department.
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.
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.
Reflecting on the collapse of his move to Leeds, the 22-year-old told the Manchester Evening News: "Towards the end of January it was like 'yeah I do want to go'.
"It took a while to get done and then I went there on deadline day. Leeds being close to Hull, where my family is from, was a big factor.
"But I'd been at Swansea since I was 16 to 21, and those years are massive.
"At the time it was the right decision. Leeds were offering me four years. The Amazon Prime documentary shows what happened:
"I got there in the morning, my agent said things could go to the wire, I did all the scans and medical stuff. I got to Elland Road about 6pm, did all the pictures with my shirt, all the interviews - because they wanted it to go out in the morning - and then it was strange.
"It got to about 9pm and I'd signed all the papers and then it was from club-to-club. I had people texting me saying 'what's happening?' and I literally didn't know. It wasn't until 15 minutes to go until I thought: 'this might not happen now'.
"I ended up ringing the chairman (of Swansea) to ask him what's happening. It was all a bit crazy and then it wasn't done - I threw my phone. I thought it's not real.
"The chief exec of Leeds wasn't happy at the time, but then it was just a case of driving home. It was a very weird situation and I think it helped me in some ways."
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