Scepticism, jangling nerves and relief - emotional roller coaster for Leeds United as they landed Marcelo Bielsa's wanted man Daniel James

WANTED MAN - Daniel James has joined Leeds United in a 25m deal from Manchester United.WANTED MAN - Daniel James has joined Leeds United in a 25m deal from Manchester United.
WANTED MAN - Daniel James has joined Leeds United in a 25m deal from Manchester United.
On Sunday evening a Leeds United official classed the chances of Dan James arriving at Elland Road as one in 100, shortly before reports emerged that the Whites were right in the hunt.

On Monday evening Leeds would say little more than they were monitoring the winger's situation, shortly before reports emerged that a deal had been agreed - lips elsewhere were evidently looser.

Things either progressed incredibly quickly or there was a little paranoia at play, which would be understandable given the events the last time Leeds had James in the Elland Road offices with paperwork on the desk in front of him.

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It was a similar situation when they signed Jean-Kevin Augustin, a fear based in some reality that Manchester United might try and hijack the deal leading to cloak and dagger behaviour that verged on melodrama. Once bitten, twice shy and the collapse of that January 2019 James move really did bite those involved at the Leeds end.

Throw in the done-deal-until-suddenly-it-wasn't Michael Cuisance affair and a picture emerges as to why transfer nerves jangle. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean football isn't out to get you.

Among the emotions at Leeds, as this deal progressed to a point at which it could be considered safely done, there was plainly more than a little relief and not just because they successfully avoided a repeat of the previous disaster.

In securing James, they happily forked out £25m and put to bed any suggestions that they were skint. Throughout the summer Leeds have been adamant there was money there to be spent, even after Bielsa himself highlighted the financial implications of the current market and its inflated prices.

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Spending just £2m shy of their record fee on a winger allowed them to end the window with considerable fanfare, a bloodletting of sorts to appease supporters clamouring for reinforcements to what is, by design, a small squad. They also laid to rest the ghosts of January 2019 and most importantly of all, gave Bielsa a player he has wanted for a long time.

It still could not be said that all and sundry were toasting the window in its entirety.

The lack of central midfield addition has given rise to the most concern, surprise and frustration around the club, a situation difficult to fully comprehend when Leeds were all set to spend £20m on Michael Cuisance less than a year ago.

The arrival of James, however, holds no real surprise - all summer long he was the one they were waiting for.

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The priority signing, the one that held the most urgency, was at left-back and in Junior Firpo Leeds felt they had improved that area of the pitch.

Conor Gallagher choosing Crystal Palace over Leeds left them looking at Huddersfield Town's Lewis O'Brien and, somehow, a deal for a player his club valued at around £8m could not be found. Leeds were not so keen that they would pay more than what they felt was fair and Bielsa was more than content to move on, so they did, not just from the 22-year-old but the idea of signing a midfielder in this window.

All that remained was a winger. For all the links with wide players in foreign markets - Noa Lang was well liked, thoroughly analysed and discussed - they were not the ones for Bielsa. James was. From the outset, he was the one Leeds felt might just be possible when the last days of the window rolled around.

Even then, there was scepticism and the club regularly played down the chances of it happening - he might not want to revisit what was a painful and awkward moment in his career, the competition would be stiff, Leicester City could be seen as a better option, he probably wouldn't want to leave Old Trafford anyway, don't get anyone's hopes up.

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Then along came Ronaldo, James found himself in the shop window and Leeds could not resist.

In a team known for breakneck counter-attacking play, James' pace will come in handy. Bielsa will look to get much more from him than speed, though, and if he can then Leeds will have another young, highly valuable asset.

Whether or not you agree that this is the transfer deal Leeds United' s current reality calls for - a penny for the thoughts of Crysencio Summerville and even Ian Poveda at this time - it was one they wanted. Now it's down to James and Bielsa to prove it was one they needed.