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Man Utd winger James: I had signed 'all the Leeds papers'

Manchester United winger Daniel James has spoken how close he came to joining Leeds United last season.

Speaking to his former Swansea teammate Kenji Gorre on the Living The Dream podcast James revealed it was a turbulent time for him, not knowing what was happening.

"It was a weird one," said the United winger. "Because I didn't even play a game for Shrewsbury [on loan the previous season] and then I only played that FA Cup game [for Swansea] when I scored, which was a massive confidence-booster. Having played a few months for Swansea, I spoke to my agent about the fact that Leeds wanted me. They were obviously a massive club, top of the table at the time.

"I'd only just started here [at Swansea] and I was loving it here, but I had a year and a half left on my contract and at the time Swansea weren't offering me a new contract. In football you've got to be secure so it was a weird one. The manager didn't want me to leave and was hopeful the club would offer me a new contract."

The Leeds move appealed to James for a number of reasons, as they were offering a better deal, were competing for promotion, while the Wales international's family are based in Yorkshire, too. He revealed he was happy to move to Elland Road.

James added: "I couldn't really believe it then towards the end of January it was like 'yeah I do want to go'. It took a while to get done and then I went there on deadline day. Leeds being close to Hull, where my family is from, was a big factor. But I'd been at Swansea since I was 16 to 21, and those years are massive.

"At the time it was the right decision. Leeds were offering me four years. The Amazon Prime documentary shows what happened: I got there in the morning, my agent said things could go to the wire, I did all the scans and medical stuff. I got to Elland Road about 6pm, did all the pictures with my shirt, all the interviews - because they wanted it to go out in the morning - and then it was strange.

"It got to about 9pm and I'd signed all the papers and then it was from club-to-club. I had people texting me saying 'what's happening?' and I literally didn't know. It wasn't until 15 minutes to go until I thought: 'this might not happen now'.

"I ended up ringing the chairman [of Swansea] to ask him what's happening. It was all a bit crazy and then it wasn't done - I threw my phone. I thought it's not real. The chief exec of Leeds wasn't happy at the time, but then it was just a case of driving home. It was a very weird situation and I think it helped me in some ways."

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Paul Vegas

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