Daniel James’ reportedly imminent move to Manchester United is a “shattering blow for Leeds” after they came so close to signing him, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Whites-supporting former striker hailed the Swansea City 21-year-old as the “Championship Raheem Sterling” and an exciting player of immense potential.
Leeds came within a whisker of recruiting James on a loan-to-buy transfer in January after he underwent a medical and agreed terms before Swansea pulled the plug at the eleventh hour.
James has subsequently made a big impact for the Welsh club and Sky Sports’ reported on Friday morning that Man United are “close” to agreeing a £15million deal to sign him.
“It’s a shattering blow for Leeds,” Whelan told Football Insider. “We were moment away from signing a class player and it was so disappointing how Swansea behaved.
“He would have been a Leeds player and helped us in the second half of the season, when we needed an attacking player who could provide pace and something different.
“You have to give credit to Dan James for putting the failure to join Leeds behind him, showing great character and being so professional for Swansea.
“It isn’t a surprise that Premier League clubs are sniffing around him. He has got great pace, he’s good on the ball and a game changer. He’s like a Championship Raheem Sterling and he can develop into a special player.”
James has a contract at Swansea that runs until the summer of 2020 and talks over an extension have been locked at stalemate.