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James’ agent critical of Swansea after deal collapses
Friday, 1st Feb 2019 13:34 by Tim Whelan

Our proposed signing of Daniel James from Swansea City fell through last night. Today and there are a couple of different theories as to why, but it’s clear the problem was at the Swansea end.

James had passed a medical at Elland Road and earlier in the day it seemed certain that the deal would go through, only for communication between the clubs to break down before the transfer window closed. Nobody in Swansea was available to sign off on the deal, so we couldn’t get it over the line.

Last night Phil Hay tweeted that the collapse was down to a difference of opinion as to how the payments were to be structured. Leeds offered to pay a loan fee of £1.5m at the end of the season, with a view to a permanent transfer if we got promoted. This would have been for a transfer fee of £6m, potentially with future add-ons on top of that.

Hay said that Swansea weren’t happy about that, so Leeds then offered to pay £750,000 up front, with the remainder to come in June, but as the deadline approached we couldn’t get anyone at the Liberty Stadium to answer the phone! James had been at Elland Road from 6pm expecting to sign on the dotted line, but will have to travel back to Swansea today.

And today in the Yorkshire Post, Hay has expanded on the story, saying that it was down to a disagreement between Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins and the Welsh club’s American owners, Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien. Andrea Radrizzani had informally agreed a deal with Jenkins, but Kaplan and Levien were never keen on the idea of selling the 21 year-old, and at the eleventh hour they refused to sanction his departure.

Swansea needed to reduce their wage bill to compensate for the big drop in income following their relegation from the Premier League. But one more theory as to why the deal didn’t go through is that they didn’t need to part with James once they’d already got four other players off the payroll with loan deals earlier in the day. This included Wilfried Bony, who will now play for Qatar club Al-Arabi for the rest of the season, and is likely to have been one of their biggest earners.

Swansea wanted to maintain as strong a squad as they could, given that they still have a chance of getting back to the Premier League next season, albeit through the play-offs. So they had a difficult balancing act between football and financial needs, while trying to arrange several deals at the same time as the deadline approached. Today they have issued a brief statement on their official site, which gives no clue as to why they didn’t let the deal go through.

“James travelled to Elland Road to discuss a loan move with a view to a permanent transfer on enhanced terms should the Championship leaders secure promotion to the Premier League. However, the clubs could not agree suitable terms and the 21-year-old will return to Swansea. Wales international James will be welcomed back into the squad with immediate effect with the goal of continuing his rich vein of form.”

But the player’s agent, David Manasseh, was rather more forthright when he spoke to The Telegraph. “Swansea made no attempt to keep the player and at the first sign of money they couldn’t show him the door quickly enough. It is very disappointing but the player is philosophical about it. I don’t want to say any more than that.”

Leeds have yet to make an official comment, even though James was Marcelo Bielsa’s number one outfield target for this transfer window. James can operate as either a winger or an attacking central midfield player, which are both areas where we have a number of players in the squad, but where we also have injury problems. We now have to hope that his absence won’t cost us too dearly in the run-in to the end of the season.

James will be out of contract in the summer of 2020, and his agent says he has no intention of signing another one. Leeds might well be back with another offer this summer, when we will be better placed to get them to agree a lower fee, given that the Swans would then have to sell James or risk losing him for nothing after another 12 months.

So unless Swansea do manage to secure a quick return to the Premier League at the end of the coming season, they may well have caused themselves some financial damage in the long run through yesterday’s antics. And although they still have James available as a player, it remains to be seen how committed he will now be for the Swans, when he’s unlikely to be there after May.

And a more immediate concern for the Swans will be their visit to Elland Road on February 13th. Last night there was a furious reaction from Leeds fans online when we heard that the deal had collapsed, so the Swans are likely to get a hostile reception. We will finally get to see Daniel James in action at Elland Road, and it’s sure to be a very interesting occasion.

Photo: Action Images

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