Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear has come clean on the “bizarre” deadline day failure to land Dan James – and admits the club will likely rekindle their efforts to sign the winger this summer.
The winger lined up for the Swans at Elland Road on Wednesday night as United recorded a 2-1 victory to return to the top of the table; James receiving rapturous applause from both sets of fans following the collapse of his loan move to Marcelo Bielsa’s side at the 11th hour on transfer deadline day.
The pacy 21-year-old was the man that Bielsa had been tracking for several months and, after he passed a medical on transfer deadline day it looked as though the Whites had got their man.
James was even “sat at Elland Road waiting to be unveiled when the January transfer deadline passed at 11pm,” but Swansea refused to sanction the transfer as the deadline came and went without the deal going through.
However, after turning in a decent display at Elland Road during the defeat, Kinnear has strongly indicated that Leeds will be back in for the winger in the summer.
Writing in his programme notes ahead of the game, Kinnear claimed Leeds had been the “unwitting victim of internal boardroom politics” over their failed move for James last month.
And Kinnear admits there’s every chance Leeds will pursue James again the summer transfer window.
“The Daniel James transfer didn’t fall through down to any lack of finance, all of the finance was agreed,” Kinnear told the BBC.
“We made Swansea a very generous offer that we thought they’d accepted.
“It was perhaps the most bizarre end to a transfer window I’ve ever had and the deal didn’t go through. It was strange I think because it’s disappointing with the amount of Victor’s (Orta) scouting team had put into identifying the right player.
“And at the moment of negotiation, the media like to think all these things happen at the last minute, but there’s actually several weeks of negotiation which come to the point where you’re able to sign a contract.
“So it was a disappointment, it happened in rather bizarre circumstances but it’s not something we think affects our chances. I think Marcelo described Daniel James as another positive option to have but we’re very comfortable with the squad we have.
“Daniel James is a young player who is probably going to show more in years to come than he perhaps would have in the tail end of this season.
“So we went into the window very comfortable with the squad we had and we emerged from the window having strengthened one key position so we’re happy with that.”
And when asked if Leeds will renew their interest in James in the summer, Kinnear responded: “Absolutely. He will definitely maintain an interest.
“He was a player who has now returned to Swansea but in the process was very excited by the prospect of joining Leeds United.
“Once you’ve invested so much time in identifying the right player, it’s not something you give up on easily.”