|James pictured with a Leeds United shirt before his transfer fell through at the 11th hour.|
But, despite having completed a medical at Leeds United ahead of a loan move until the end of the 2018/19 campaign - which would have been made permanent had Leeds gained promotion - Daniel James and Leeds were left high and dry by Swans chairman Huw Jenkins.
Jenkins - who left his job as Swansea chairman just two days after the transfer following 17 years at the club - appeared willing to sign the deal off until the last minute, ignoring phone calls from an increasingly frustrated Elland Road office.
It was after 2pm when the call came granting James permission to start a medical at Leeds United on deadline-day and make good his transfer from Swansea City. In fact, the winger arrived in Yorkshire as early as possible, having driven all the way from Wales to sign on the dotted line.
The 22-year-old winger was identified as a winger that could help propel Leeds back into the Premier League after a 15-year absence. And, in the Leeds United documentary Take Us Home - which shows United's 2018/19 campaign under Marcelo Bielsa - James was actually pictured holding up a Leeds shirt with both the player and club believing the transfer was all-but completed.
United had attempted to get their man in the days before, but Swansea's board had remained resilient. What began as a £5m up-front offer from United became a loan to the end of this season with a commitment from Leeds to sign James for a fee in excess of £5m if they won promotion from the Championship.
In fact, a loan fee was necessary to bring negotiations to a close. Having agreed to it, Leeds finally felt their man would come through the door.
James passed a medical in good time at Thorp Arch - Leeds' training complex - and was driven to Elland Road around 6pm on deadline-day to complete the paperwork and go through the process of media interviews and photographs.
But Leeds were met with silence with two hours to go until the deadline. Complicating proceedings, Swansea's relegation had already seen the loss of players, but with the likes of Wilfried Bony, Jefferson Montero and Leroy Fer seemingly set for the exit on deadline day, Jenkins pulled the plug on James' departure, fearing mutiny from the Swansea faithful.
And, he has now explained why.
“I communicated with everybody at Leeds on the phone, back and forth, and I am sure they put Dan on to me as well.
“They were all trying to convince us to do the deal but I just felt from a club’s point of view, based on value and based on Graham’s (Potter) success, it wasn’t right.
"I thought, second half of the season, as it proved, he’d have a big impact for the club. Dan was just coming into his own.
"I did give Dan my views. He had no guarantee of going straight into the Leeds team, and the uncertainty over whether they would buy him or not is not a good thing for a young player. Take all that into account and there was only one decision to be made. Thankfully, it worked out well for the football club and for Dan.”
James returned to Swansea unhappy, but continued to ply his trade in Wales before Manchester United came in for him in the summer, paying £15m, rising to £18m with add-ons applied.
That, of course, benefitted Swansea to a much greater extent than letting James leave for one of their promotion rivals for a third of that price.
And, with pace to burn and a willingness to attack, James has already enamoured himself to the Old Trafford faithful.