Imagine going in to your boss, telling him that you don’t want to work there, preferring instead to work for a rival. Then you hop in your car and scoot to his rival’s premises.
In a way, that’s exactly what Swansea City’s Daniel James did on Wednesday. Amidst rising ‘interest’ in him, James informed Swansea that he wanted to move to Leeds.
The wheels were set in motion with the Swansea wing heading to Leeds United on Wednesday evening ahead of the obligatory medical and subsequent unveiling. The medical went well, James passed that on Thursday, transfer deadline day. He sat there at Elland Road from 6p.m. awaiting the green light to be unveiled.
That green light moment stayed red, the ‘agreed’ deal scuppered at the last moment. Rumours abound as to what happened, many saying that Swansea simply refused to respond to any contact from Leeds United; they simply didn’t pick up the phone.
Obviously, it’s not a great leap of the imagination to think that there will be ramifications from this debacle, and that’s not too strong a word to describe it. Bad feeling is bound to be present from James’ end, that’s almost a given.
His agent, David Manasseh, gives a basis of truth to this. In words carried by the Telegraph, Manasseh says: “Swansea made no attempt to keep the player and at the first sign of money they couldn’t show him the door quickly enough. It is very disappointing but the player is philosophical about it.”
Now, “philosophical” he may be, but you can bet that beneath this stoicism James is raging. Yes, he was the one who initially made the moves to leave Swansea. Yet, with Swansea actively encouraging James to move, then pulling the rug from under said move, there is bound to be an undercurrent of anger.
The conflict at Swansea, the infighting, has already resulted in casualties. Chairman Huw Jenkins has stepped down from the club, pollical in-fighting with American co-owners Jason Levein and Steven Kaplan said to be behind his decision.
In a statement he said: “Gradually over the last few seasons my role as Chairman providing such leadership and direction has been eroded away. Finally I can sit back no longer and hide behind my position and stay true to myself and my beliefs.”
Away from all of that, surely the biggest casualty is James himself. How can he ever face up to playing for an outfit that were, at one point, keen to cash in and then, equally keen, to pull the rug from under him? He didn’t play yesterday, an understandable sentiment in the face of what had happened over previous days.
Perhaps most tellingly, James’ contract is up in June 2020. Leeds United are said to be interested in revisiting the deal in June this year. Will Swansea try to protect their interests by offering the flying winger a new deal? Probably. Will James sign said improved deal? Likely not!
That there is the nub of costing Swansea dearly.