Former Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins has admitted that he was never a fan of the move that purported to take Dan James to Leeds United, telling Wales Online that the jet-heeled winger is now at a ‘better’ club.
The winter market is an unstable beast at the best of times but, for Leeds, it doesn’t get more frustrating than the events of January 31, 2019.
With just hours remaining until the deadline, a talented Swansea City youngster headed up to West Yorkshire to put pen to paper over a £10 million move to Elland Road.
As revealed by that infamous Amazon documentary, James even got his hands on the famous white shirt and posed for photographs – only for a dramatic late twist to scupper everything at the very last minute.
According to the Telegraph, Swansea pulled the plug even after James had passed his medical. They were apparently unhappy with the terms of the agreement, which would see Leeds pay a loan fee before making James’ transfer permanent in the summer.
Just to rub salt into the wounds, James would then join Leeds’ bitter rivals Manchester United just a few months later.
“Swansea City got a much bigger transfer fee (£22 million), Dan got a better move,” Jenkins claims.
“(The Leeds deal) made no sense to me, not for Swansea City financially because there was nothing in it for us. Dan going up to Leeds at the time, risk injury, us rely on a summer transfer, was wrong. I wasn’t even sure Leeds would pay the loan fee until the summer.
“In playing regularly for us, we felt we would get more value out of any future deal. Not just for the club financially, but for Dan himself.
“And, of course, he has done really well at Man Utd and also for Wales.”
Leeds, of course, would miss out on promotion to the Premier League that very same season.
And James’ rapid pace and match-turning abilities might, on paper at least, have helped avoid a dramatic collapse that saw Marcelo Bielsa’s side fall from promotion certainties to beaten play-off semi-finalists.