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Leeds finally get their hands on Daniel James as Helder Costa departs

The Wales winger arrives at Elland Road two and a half years after Leeds’ bid to sign him from his former club Swansea collapsed at the 11th hour.

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Daniel James has left Manchester United for Leeds (Martin Rickett/PA)

Daniel James has left Manchester United for Leeds (Martin Rickett/PA)

Daniel James has left Manchester United for Leeds (Martin Rickett/PA)

Leeds have announced the signing of winger Daniel James from Manchester United on a five-year deal.

James, 23, arrives at Elland Road two and a half years after Leeds’ bid to sign him from his former club Swansea collapsed at the 11th hour.

The PA news agency understands Leeds have paid £25million for the Wales international.

James told Sky Sports: “I’m glad everything’s over the line and I’m excited to move forward.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for me, bit of a crazy time, but I’m here now and grateful that the club still believed in me from that time two and a half years ago. I’m happy to be here and can’t wait to play in front of these fans.

“It’s all happened in the last day or two, very quick. I got my head around it and this is where I wanted to be moving forward.”

Leeds director of football Victor Orta said: “I have to say a huge thank you to my team firstly – the football department have been monitoring Daniel for a number of years and every member of my team has worked hard to get this deal over the line.

“It is no secret that Daniel is a player we have been keen to acquire for a number of years and today we achieved our goal.

“As a player we feel Daniel is an excellent fit for a Marcelo Bielsa team, he is quick, direct and works hard – we look forward to him joining up with the squad, finally!”

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Dan James was substituted against Wolves on Sunday (Nick Potts/PA)

Dan James was substituted against Wolves on Sunday (Nick Potts/PA)

Dan James was substituted against Wolves on Sunday (Nick Potts/PA)

Leeds never lost their interest in James after their attempts to sign him in January 2019 broke down in the closing stages.

He moved to Old Trafford for £15m the following summer, signing a five-year deal, and went on to score nine goals in 74 appearances for the club in all competitions.

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James started in all four of Wales’ Euro 2020 matches and will now join up with the squad in Finland for Wednesday night’s friendly, ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia.

He was also in Manchester United’s starting XI for this season’s Premier League games against Leeds and Wolves.

But his chances of establishing himself in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up diminished following the completion of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford earlier on transfer deadline day.

James is Leeds’ third major summer signing after Jack Harrison’s extended loan deal from Manchester City was made permanent and the arrival of left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona.

The addition of the Wales international resulted in the club allowing winger Helder Costa to exit in the final exchanges of deadline day.

Costa has joined Valencia on a season-long loan and the LaLiga side have the option to make the move permanent next summer.

The 27-year-old helped Leeds win promotion back to the Premier League in 2020 and scored three times in the top flight during the previous campaign, but has fallen down the pecking order at Elland Road and only started once this term.

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