In one of the biggest transfer roller-coasters in recent memory, Daniel James looked set to join Leeds United, before eventually seeing a move from Swansea collapse at the final hour.
Such was the drama, the deal and all the behind-the-scenes footage of it made it onto the Whites’ documentary released by Amazon.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side had reportedly agreed a loan deal with the Swans in the 2019 January transfer window, with the move being made permanent for around £8.5m if the Whites earned promotion.
However, it all fell apart in the closing stages, and while it seemed like Swansea completely blindsided Leeds by pulling the rug from under the table, it appears the Yorkshire club left their counterparts with no option after looking to weight things heavily in their favour.
According to a report by BBC Sport: “It is understood Leeds wanted to defer the initial loan fee until the summer, while the proposed permanent transfer fee following potential promotion, would have been spread out over as much as three years.
“It is believed Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins felt he was not prepared to accept the terms and brought a halt to discussions.”
Since then, James has, of course, made the move to Premier League level with Manchester United, and while he hasn’t exactly set Old Trafford alight, has begun to feature more prominently under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in recent weeks – he’s started four out of the last five top-flight games, including scoring against Newcastle in a 3-1 win.
Now, CIES value him at the £60m mark, a quite remarkable rise for a player who had a deal gone through with Leeds, the Whites could have signed on a permanent basis for less than six times that.
And as if to underline that point about Leeds missing out on a potentially exciting talent, James struck the winner for Wales in their World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, getting on the end of a Gareth Bale cross.
Given that the Yorkshire club supposedly missed out on James because they were playing extremely stingy with the way the transfer fee would have been broken down, this surely must go down as a shocking blunder from Victor Orta.
And at still only 23, the Welshman has got plenty of time to develop even further and make Leeds regret that 2019 call even more.