Former Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins has revealed that a lack of trust in Leeds United to pay the initial loan fee for Daniel James until late on played a part in his move to Elland Road collapsing.
James, who was promoted to the Swans’ first team two summers ago, impressed in his first half-season in South Wales and was close to signing for Leeds in January last year.
After passing a medical as part of a loan move with an obligation to buy if the Whites got promoted, the plug was pulled on the deal at the last minute and James stayed with Swansea.
James recently admitted initial anger at the “weird” situation that unfolded and he instead moved to Manchester United last summer, with the Old Trafford club paying £15million.
Speaking to WalesOnline, Jenkins opened up further on the failed move and claimed that, in the end, it made no sense for the winger to move to Leeds, who he was unsure would pay the loan fee straight away.
“When I was first invited to run the club the directors gave me a lot of freedom,” Jenkins said.
“We had a good system in place, they had trust in me and provided good support. People like Martin Morgan, Leigh Dineen were excellent.
“With the changes, gradually more and more people were getting involved. I recall with Dan James there were six people interfering, trying to make a decision that day.
“I was told a deal was in place for Dan to go to Leeds. It made no sense to me, not for Swansea City financially because there was nothing in it for us.
“As much as others felt the deal could have been done and we could have got something out of it, to me 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.”
Jenkins also revealed then-Swans boss Graham Potter’s role in proceedings, adding that he was glad to see James get a “better move”.
“I spoke to Graham Potter about it. Remember, part of his mantra was to bring through younger players while making the team competitive,” the former chairman said.
“Dan was an important part of that. Graham wanted him to remain until the end of the season and play for Swansea. 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 United and also for Wales.
“Whether he is playing well or not, Dan has this inner spirit, believes he is a good player. That’s important, you need that mentality as a Manchester United footballer.
So Swansea City got a much bigger transfer fee, Dan got a better move. That Leeds business was the final thing I did as Swansea chairman, my parting shot if you like, the last involvement.
“Although, of course, shortly after I left they also got £20m from Sheffield United for [Oli] McBurnie. We got Dan for £75,000 from Hull, Oli for £100,00 from Bradford. Not a bad bit of business.”