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Manchester United transfer news: Why Daniel James is the perfect first signing of the summer at Old Trafford

Daniel James
Daniel James

Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Wales starlet Daniel James from Sky Bet Championship side Swansea.

The winger comes with a hefty price tag, £18m the cost to secure the Old Trafford club's first addition of the summer.

It's remarkable to think that James came close to a move to Yeovil last summer. The Glovers ended up relegated out of the Football League altogether, while James went onto enjoy a season which saw him become one of the Championship's top talents.

He benefited from Graham Potter's arrival at the club and forced his way into the frame. Not only that, by the end of the season, the 21-year-old was one of the first names on the team sheet.

It could have been different though. James was moments away from moving to Leeds in January. The deal fell through at the last hour, but with the two cities often battling each other as powerhouses of the north, Leeds' loss is certainly Manchester's gain in this case.

James has shone in a number of areas this season. Looking at the performances of players under the age of 22, he sat alongside Reece James in having the highest number of key passes in the Championship.

In addition to that, only Norwich left-back Jamal Lewis saw more progressive runs, aided by the Canaries' style allowing full-backs to attack, while James' 108 progressive runs was significantly more than Jayden Bogle with 81 in third.

The winger also sat in the top-five for assists, only Mason Mount and Aston Villa's on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham had more shots on goal.

James sat second for crosses, of which 39.7% were accurate. While that may seem like a low number on the surface, only Tyler Roberts and James Bree boasted a higher percentage.

Both of those players attempted less than 50% of the number of crosses as James though. The Welshman also sat in second for crosses to the six-yard box, the perfect service for a striker who can pounce from close range.

Dan James' solo goal - Swansea v Brentford

An eye-catching characteristic is James' speed. That will prove to be a real asset for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with an ability to get at full-backs highlighted in the highest number of total one vs one dribbles.

It's hardly a surprise to see that James is a Welsh international already. Wales boss Ryan Giggs has previously stated: "He is a talent, and when you have got that raw pace you are a threat at any level.

"As a winger, you then have to develop the other parts of the game, which I feel that he is doing."

While the Premier League is undoubtedly a tougher league, it has to be acknowledged how James outshone the likes of Anthony Martial in most areas.

The Swansea man delivered, on average, nearly twice as many crosses per game, alongside a better accuracy too. His 6.79 dribbles beats Martial's 5.59, with James also posting a better success rate.

Daniel James is a Welsh international
Daniel James is on the verge of a move to Old Trafford

It highlights the positive attitude and the mentality to attack that will greatly benefit the Old Trafford outfit in all competitions this season.

His signing will be welcomed by the United faithful who are desperate for attacking quality in this side. They managed just 33 goals in 19 home league games last season, a repeat will not be accepted as club legend Solskjaer looks to prove himself as an elite level manager.

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard were the two preferred wide men this season, and the addition of James adds serious competition to that area of the pitch.

Manchester United appear to be a team who are, to some extent, looking to hit the reset button this summer as they identify young, homegrown players to add to their squad.

In James though, they are not just getting a player to swell the numbers, but one who is capable of making an impact in the starting XI.


Odds correct at 1645 BST (06/06/19) - stats via wyscout.com

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Most Read Football

Image Missing
1

French late show sinks England

Aaron Wan-Bissaka's injury-time own goal sunk the 10-man England Under-21s as France - who missed two penalties - scored twice at the death to snatch victory at Euro 2019.

Image Missing
2

Manchester United's transfer focus

There are not too many 'gots' and plenty of 'needs' for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to think about during the summer transfer window at Manchester United.

Image Missing
3

Paper Talk: Pogba 500k a week

Tuesday's Paper Talk rounds up all of the day's football gossip, including Manchester United's huge pay offer to Paul Pogba.

Image Missing
4

Paper Talk: Milan bound?

Romelu Lukaku looks set for a summer switch to Inter Milan, while Spurs are finally looking to spend big in the transfer market - it's Paper Talk!

Image Missing
5

Transfer Window: Done Deals

Get all the complete signings in the January transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

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