Manchester United have sold Daniel James to Leeds United for an initial £25m with the potential for the fee to rise to £30m. It leaves United making quite a profit on a player who only joined us a couple of years and means Leeds, who tried to sign James a few months before he made the move to Old Trafford, finally get their man.
Speaking to Sky Sports, James talked of his reasons behind making the move but was grateful for the experience he’d had at United.
It has been a bit of a whirlwind for me, bit of a crazy time. But as I said I’m grateful for the club still being interested in me and still believing in me from that time two-and-a-half years ago. I think for me, for my football career, it was completely the right decision. Don’t get me wrong, I had an unbelievable time [at United] and I’ve made great friends. The staff were amazing to me, the fans, but for me it’s my time to move on. I’m just looking forward to it. It’s been on my mind the last couple of days when I knew this was going through and I think the last time I came here was with Swansea when I didn’t end up signing. I got a loud roar from the crowd then and that was when I wasn’t playing for them, so I’m looking forward to it now that I am.
James scored against Leeds in our 6-2 win over them last season, and when we beat them 5-1 at Old Trafford on the opening day of this season, the away end sang “you’re too sh*t to play for Leeds” at him. You imagine they will have to change their tune on that stance now!
In January 2019, James was pictured holding up the Leeds shirt, with the initial loan deal all but finalised, only for it to fall through at the last minute. James has spoken about how he has changed since then.
I’m a different player, different as a person as well. I’d maybe only played half a season when I nearly signed here last time. I’ve got games under my belt at a top level and I’d like to think I can add something here.
It is well known that Marcelo Bielsa is a big fan of James and has waited some time to finally bring the player to Leeds. James has reflected on what it means to him to have the manager’s backing.
I think from a top manager who’s respected all around the world, it’s nice to be liked by someone like that. It’s one of the big reasons why I’m here today. I think even with that, whether he likes you or not, it doesn’t mean I’m going to play every week, so I’ve got a lot of fighting to do to get in to the team because there’s a great group of players here.
James should already be in Finland with the rest of the Wales squad ahead of their friendly tomorrow but was given permission to go to Leeds to secure the transfer.
I’m going to go away and play for my country, which I always love to do, and thankful to the manager letting me come today to get everything sorted. I’ll be meeting up with them later tonight, I’ll get a flight out there, so just looking forward to that game tomorrow.