Will Daniel James be a good signing for Manchester United?
By Joe Harker
Swansea City winger Daniel James is expected to sign for Manchester United imminently in a move that could cost around £18 million in transfer fees and add-ons.
The young Welsh winger has impressed during the past season in the Championship and caught the eye of the Premier League giants, he will be their first signing of the transfer window.
James will join a United side in need of an overhaul at all levels, is he the sort of player the club needs right now?
Wales teammate and former Premier League midfielder Joe Allen believes James is ready to make the step up to the Premier League and ready to play for United.
In the past season James has played his way into Swansea's first team, made his debut for Wales and scored the winner in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
A player like James, young and full of potential, is the sort of transfer United used to make often and have been accused of moving away from in favour of splashing the cash on bigger names.
Many United fans see his signing as a signal that the club are employing some sense in their transfer dealings rather than trying to throw money at the many problems the squad currently suffers from.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly wants to sign more young British players with potential to develop and James certainly fits that bill.
The Counter Claim:
However, a club challenging for the top four in the Premier League with a view to becoming title challengers once again needs to have a squad of top quality.
James is a well regarded player but he is not the finished article and many who show promise in their early days don't go on to fulfill their potential.
The winger is fast and talented but he's unproven at Premier League level and is still likely some way off the quality expected of United's first team players, which is why the Manchester Evening News argues that the club needs to sign another winger after James joins.
Perhaps he's a player for the future and he might turn out to be a great signing but he's a player who scored four goals in 33 Championship games, that's not good enough and United need to hope he has much more to come from his game.
There is also an onus on the club to develop the player. Solskjaer's plan to sign younger talent and develop them is all well and good but if he doesn't last too much longer in the manager's seat his replacement might not fancy James much.
James does not want to become another Wilfried Zaha, the last signing Sir Alex Ferguson made as United manager. His successors David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal didn't have the same plans for Zaha that Ferguson did and the player ended up being sold back to Crystal Palace where he flourished.
Daniel James scored five goals and notched 10 assists in 38 games last season, most of those coming from the left wing where he prefers to play. Right footed, James might find himself competing with Anthony Martial for a starting role though it is the right wing where United desperately need reinforcements.
He was impressive enough to almost leave Swansea in January, a £10 million bid from Leeds United nearly resulted in a transfer but the move broke down on deadline day.
The winger is lightning quick too, one of the fastest players in football. The Times reports that during a game against Brentford he covered 84 yards in 8.48 seconds in the build up to his goal.
United under Solskajer have looked best when playing a counter attacking style. A player who can take the ball, travel such a distance so quickly and score with it is surely going to find some joy in a setup like that.