Leeds United are refusing to give up on the signing of Daniel James despite a struggle to talk Swansea City into a deal for the talented winger.
James has been the subject of high-level talks between Leeds and Swansea during the past week but United have yet to agree a fee amid reluctance at the Liberty Stadium to lose him in the final few days of the transfer window.
The 21-year-old remains the prime target of United head coach Marcelo Bielsa ahead of Thursday’s January deadline and Leeds are persisting in chasing James as the clock runs down.
Bielsa has made one signing in this window to date, acquiring goalkeeper Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid, but he wants a winger to arrive before Friday and picked out James from the options presented to him by United director of football Victor Orta.
Swansea are under pressure to cut costs after their relegation from the Premier League last season but the Welsh club would prefer to move other players off the wage bill. Forward Wilfried Bony, one of the club’s top earners, is being heavily linked with a move to Galatasaray.
Leeds value James in the region of £3m but are likely to have to raise that figure significantly to convince Swansea to part with the Wales international and the Elland Road side will be forced to look at last-minute alternatives if City stand firm.
James came off the bench for the last 21 minutes of Swansea’s 4-1 win over Gillingham in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Ahead of the start of this window, the board at Elland Road sanctioned the arrival of a new goalkeeper, winger and number 10 having allowed Samuel Saiz to leave on loan for Getafe but Bielsa is yet to signal a move for a playmaker.
The Leeds boss admitted after Saturday’s victory over Rotherham United that he was not yet certain of landing anyone else before the window closed.
“I don’t have any certainty about welcoming a new player,” he said. “If we can welcome players who are better than our players, as long as they’re better than our players then it would be good.”
Leeds, though, are set to complete an Under-23s signing tomorrow afternoon with the capture of 17-year-old midfielder Mateusz Bogusz from Polish lower-league side Ruch Chorzów.
United agreed a fee for Bogusz last week and the teenager will undergo a medical before finalising his contract and joining the development squad at Thorp Arch.
A number of fringe academy players, meanwhile, are likely to follow goalkeeper Will Huffer in taking up chances elsewhere before the end of the window. Huffer joined non-league Barnet on a month’s loan on Friday following Casilla’s arrival from the Bernabeu.
Leeds are also preparing to agree another temporary exit for Hadi Sacko after his time at Las Palmas was cut short on Friday.
Las Palmas took Sacko on a year-long basis in July but the winger was been peripheral during the first half of the season and the Spanish second-division side were keen to remove him from their squad.
Clubs in Hungary and Cyprus have shown an interest in Sacko but he is understood to be likely to return to the Spanish leagues for the remainder of the campaign.