© Getty(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Daniel James may have got his Manchester United career off to a flyer with a goal on his debut but his path as a player could have been very different.
The Wales international became one of United's priority signings for the summer transfer window and they eventually snapped him up for £17million from his first club Swansea City.
But he came incredibly close to signing for fierce rivals Leeds United in the January window instead, which could have scuppered any future switch. © Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedDaniel James came so close to signing for Leeds that he was pictured posing with his shirt
James was identified as a key target by manager Marcelo Bielsa and director of football Victor Orta, and he even travelled up to Elland Road on January deadline day before posing with the kit.
The deal would collapse in dramatic fashion, which has been retold in Amazon's new documentary about Leeds' 2018-19 season, Take Us Home.
The winger had a medical at their Thorp Arch base, during which time Matt Grice, Leeds' team manager asked: 'I'm getting kit printed up for training tomorrow, any idea on numbers?'
James replied: '21 mate'. © Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedInstead, he moved to Manchester United and ended up scoring on his debut against Chelsea
There were clear issues, with Swansea's owners in the United States and those in Wales struggling to agree a price.
Orta was filmed sending a text at 3.30pm that read: 'Any word from Swansea? We are all here waiting.'
But neither side of the Swansea deal returned calls from Leeds or text messages.
When James was told that this was an issue, he tells Orta: 'We're nearly there...' © Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedHe was asked which shirt he wanted to wear and said he wanted the number 21 in response
Speaking in the documentary defender Luke Ayling admitted: 'A few of the boys started chucking in the group to Mooney (Leeds' head of media) talk to us, is it getting done here?
'Mooney's still at like 9.30pm, 10 o'clock, "Trust me boys, it's getting done but the Swansea owner's just taking longer to get back to us. Everything's done, now we're just waiting for a phone call to sign off on it, it's all done".'
With an hour left until the window shut, James started signing some of the paperwork in his contract in order to speed the deal up.
He was congratulated by those sat around him, thinking a deal was done, but Orta said: 'Still no, still no.' © Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedAn emotional James hugs Leeds' director of football Victor Orta after the deal collapsed
Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear then heard back from Swansea but it was not good news. Boardroom problems at the Welsh club meant Leeds were struggling to get it over the line.
Orta responded when told: 'He told me the other.'
Leeds tried to apply for the 15 minute extension on the basis someone in Wales would answer their phone calls.
Kinnear said: 'Huw's not answering my phone calls. Can Jason (Levein, Swansea's American owner) sign?'
Orta added: 'We accept their details.' © Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedJames instead signed for United during the summer transfer window and has impressed
But the deal collapsed and could not be pushed across the line due to the issues within Swansea's hierarchy. James remained a Swansea player and an emotional Orta was left in tears.
James was clearly disappointed by the outcome and admitted in a phone call: 'I've been here all day and everything's done man. They just won't sign.'
Having not signed for Leeds, James joined United and bagged on his competitive debut against Chelsea. He is likely to feature when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side face Wolves on Monday.
Leeds went on to drop from top spot in the Championship to third and ended up losing a play-off semi-final against Derby.
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