Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Swansea winger Daniel James and he could prove a valuable addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
The Manchester Evening News reports that the Red Devils are in pole position to land the Welshman this summer, who has just completed a stellar season at the Liberty Stadium.
The 21-year-old has been a standout performer for Graham Potter’s Swansea side since the turn of the year, enhancing his reputation significantly after a proposed move to Leeds United fell through in January.
James could be rewarded for his efforts with a once in the lifetime switch to Old Trafford, as Solskjaer aims to build a squad brimming with young, homegrown talent.
The Swans ace has just one year of senior football under his belt and has not yet tasted football at the highest level, but his displays in the Championship have alerted a number of top clubs to his considerable abilities.
Wales boss Ryan Giggs even granted James his international debut last year and he been tipped to reach the very highest level of the game in the coming years if he continues on his current trajectory.
The young attacker has drawn comparisons with compatriot and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, but former Wales striker John Hartson has insisted there is no need to heap added “pressure” on his shoulders at this fledgeling stage of his career.
“It’s unfair to start comparing him with Gareth Bale, just as it was when Gareth was compared to Ryan Giggs when he first broke into the Wales team,” Hartson told the Daily Mirror.
“Ryan had 13 Premier League winners’ medals, while Gareth was just starting out.
“Now it’s Gareth who has four Champions League winners medals – and Daniel is just in his infancy.
“I wouldn’t want to put any added pressure on him. He has a good family around him. He seems a level-headed lad and I think he will thrive.”
United are in dire need of reinforcements during the transfer window, after a dismal season which saw them fail to land in the Champions League places.
Solksjaer’s side finished sixth in the Premier League and without any silverware to show for their efforts, with problems surfacing in almost every area of the pitch.
One major issue for United has been their lack of imagination in wide areas, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial struggling to make an impact in the final third of the pitch.
Could James be the answer to Solskjaer’s attacking woes next season? Caught Offside assesses his potential impact at Old Trafford below.
Who is Daniel James?
James is an orthodox winger capable of playing on either flank, with a wicked left-foot and pace to burn. He has managed to contribute four goals and seven assists in 33 Championship appearances for Swansea this season, helping Potter’s side secure a top ten finish.
James has represented Wales at all youth levels from U-17 to U-21 and has already made a mark for the senior squad under Ryan Giggs, who recently described him as an impressive “talent” who is developing nicely – as per the Daily Mirror.
Along with his exploits at international level and in English football’s second tier, James has also managed to make his mark in the FA Cup, playing a crucial role during Swansea’s run to the quarterfinals of the competition.
The Welsh starlet was superb during a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the last eight, which proved to be the toughest test for Pep Guardiola’s men during their run to glory in this year’s competition.
Standout moment this season
James showed off his outstanding ability on a number of occasions throughout the season, but no moment encapsulated his unique quality more than his solo goal against Brentford in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Swansea progressed to the quarterfinals with a 4-1 win at the Liberty and James grabbed their second goal in the tie, sprinting from his own box to the other end of the pitch before finishing with aplomb.
It was a truly stunning moment which saw him announce his arrival on the biggest stage and he has been linked with a step-up to the Premier League ever since.
Relive James’s wonder goal against Bretford below, via Twitter.
Who’d win a race between Daniel James and Kylian Mbappé? ??
There was no stopping the 21-year-old on his way to goal.
Incredible pace! ?? pic.twitter.com/Ay2aTunUVT
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 17, 2019
How much is James worth?
According to Goal, the Wales international could be available for as little as £20 million in the summer market, which represents a bargain fee for a player of his age and ability.
MEN reports that Swansea pulled the plug on James’s proposed £10 million move to Leeds during the last transfer window and his value has doubled since then.
The winger will not be short on potential suitors over the coming months and the Championship outfit may be tempted to cash in on a prized asset while his stock is at it’s highest point.
Manchester United are thought to be in pole position to sign James, who emerged as a surprise target for the club last week – as per Sky Sports.
It is believed that the Red Devils are close to agreeing on a deal for the Swansea star, who could end up slotting in Solskjaer’s starting XI seamlessly.
United used to be a side renowned for their pace out wide and devasting ability on the counter-attack, but nowadays they are better known for a lethargic, predictable approach going forward and a lack of energy in the middle of the pitch.
James could inject much-needed speed into Solskjaer’s line up and he even has experience playing through the middle, which makes him a viable alternative to Romelu Lukaku or Marcus Rashford upfront.
He might not be the marquee name many United fans might be expecting to arrive at Old Trafford this summer, but James might be the best value for money target on the club’s radar at the moment and everything is in place for him to embark on the next exciting chapter in his career.