Leeds United target Daniel James refuses to be distracted by transfer talk

Wales' Daniel James celebrates scoring.Wales' Daniel James celebrates scoring.
Wales' Daniel James celebrates scoring.
Wales hero Daniel James has vowed to focus on his football and not be distracted as Premier League clubs monitor his contract situation at Swansea.

James scored a superb winner as Wales opened their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Slovakia in Cardiff on Sunday.

The 21-year-old winger was on the verge of joining Leeds during the final hours of the January transfer window before Swansea pulled the plug on a potential £10million deal.

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James is contracted at the cash-strapped Sky Bet Championship club until the summer of 2020, with talks over a new deal ongoing amid reports that the player’s camp are keen to have a buy-out clause inserted.

“That’s still underway,” James said when asked about Swansea contract talks.

“It’s about concentrating on the football for me.

“This time last season I wasn’t playing first-team football, but it’s something that can happen.

“If you get your opportunity you can take it and now it’s a case of ‘can I do more?’”

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Leeds were expected to come back in for James this summer, but they will almost certainly face competition from top-flight clubs following James’ international breakthrough.

Swansea’s finances remain precarious following relegation from the Premier League in May 2018 and a budget deficit of more than £30million.

It was announced last week that the club are seeking redundancies among all staff other than players and manager Graham Potter.

Swansea have seen 16 senior players depart since relegation and only five arrive, but James has remained upbeat since his Leeds move collapsed amid some acrimony between the two clubs.

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“I got back to Swansea and the fans have been great with me,” he said.

“Nothing has changed for me.

“It was about keep playing football and enjoying it, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

James was born in the Yorkshire market town of Beverley but qualifies for Wales through his Aberdare-born father.

He was at the Hull academy from the age of eight, but he joined Swansea in 2014 and scored on his senior debut in an 8-1 FA Cup victory over Notts County in February 2018.

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James has become a Swansea regular this season and made his Wales debut in a low-key friendly away to Albania in November.

He rose to prominence with an incredible solo FA Cup goal against Brentford in February, when he covered 84 yards in just 8.48 seconds before scoring, and was then on target five minutes in to his first competitive start for Wales.

“It’s massive the way the gaffer has trusted the youth,” James said of Wales manager Ryan Giggs.

“A lot of us have played together at the Under-21s and I think that really helps, we’ve got a great team bond.

“The gaffer and Gareth (Bale) have shown me a lot. The gaffer told me for the Slovakia game to keep doing what I do at Swansea and Gareth said ‘keep getting at the full-back’, which is what I did.”