Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been quoted by Leeds Live as saying that he is delighted that his side were able to sign Dan James from Swansea City, but is aware Leeds United came within an inch of signing the winger.
A £15million (Leeds Live) signing for Manchester United in the summer, 21-year-old James has starred for Leeds’ fiercest of rivals – scoring three Premier League goals in five outings , including one against Chelsea and a stunning strike at Southampton.
Leeds United’s documentary on Amazon Prime ‘Take Me Home: Leeds United’ shows just how close Leeds came to signing James. It shows the winger at Leeds, taking pictures with the number 21 shirt after a medical had been completed.
It also shows director of football Victor Orta crying after failing to get a deal done, when Swansea decided to stop answering calls. Manchester United boss Solskjaer said he’s thankful his team signed the Wales cap, but he is aware how close Leeds came.
“That we managed to get him to Manchester is fantastic,” Solskjaer said. “He has proven with his x-factor that he will give the squad a lot.
“I don’t watch many documentaries, but I know he was close to joining Leeds but that’s football. Sometimes you have to take a chance. He’s started well here.”
TBR’s view – James would have delivered promotion for Leeds
Had Leeds got the deal over the line in January, Marcelo Bielsa’s side would have had the fire power necessary to gain promotion to the Premier League. Fine margins, though, and Swansea’s floundering sees Leeds remain in the second tier.
It is painful for Leeds fans to watch James shine in the Premier League, and scoring goals – and even more painful that he is doing it in the red of Manchester United. Fans will be hoping they can take the step up without the winger this season.