Daniel James is a Leeds United player, ultimately.
Two and a half years after one of the most documented deadline incidents in recent memory, Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa finally have their man.
Only a few weeks have passed since the Whites were humiliated at Old Trafford, a game in which James was playfully heckled by the traveling support.
No one could have predicted that he would be unveiled as the club’s new No.20 just 17 days later.
At this point it would have been unanticipated to predict a Premier League return for Cristiano Ronaldo either, but the Portuguese was instrumental in Leeds being able to seal that transfer.
James will be acclimating to his new surroundings when he returns from international service in approximately 10 days.
He is currently heading to Helsinki – the capital of Finland – where he will join the Wales squad ahead of a friendly against the Scandinavian nation, before flying 1,000 kilometers east to face Belarus in the Russian city of Kazan.
A return game in Cardiff against Estonia will close James’ international break, where he will be greeted by Tyler Roberts who – without a Russian visa – cannot travel with the squad for the matches against Finland and Belarus.
The debate is already raging over where James will play and who to oust in the Leeds United pecking order.
Mainly a winger, James is able to play both sides, which has led to the suggestion that the Raphinha talisman could play a more central role at No.10, thus matching his new team number.
Without a doubt, this will increase the competition for places, but ultimately Bielsa’s Dan James master plan will remain under wraps until it is presented to the public in upcoming Leeds matches.
Oddly though, it was rumored that Leeds would offload Helder Costa on deadline day, with super-agent Jorge Mendes pulling the strings to secure a move to Valencia.
This transfer seems to have stopped with Los Che boss Jose Bordalas doesn’t like the player, according to various Spanish sources.
Meanwhile, Ian Poveda has already loaned Leeds out this summer, registering an assist on his debut for the Blackburn Rovers in the league.
He will spend the 2021/22 campaign at Ewood Park.
Which leaves young striker Crysencio Summerville next in line, a player who has benched in all three of Leeds’ Premier League games so far this season.
The Dutch teenager has had a wonderful preseason and has started the campaign very well with Mark Jackson’s Under-23s.
Apart from Cambuur Leuwaarden’s early interest in Summerville’s home country, there is no indication that the 19-year-old will be leaving Elland Road on loan this summer – unlike Costa and Poveda.
James’ signing means it will likely be more under-23 football for the teenager, but there are some bright spots he can take from this £ 25million transfer.
Namely, Summerville and James are surprisingly similar players; possessing electric speed in a straight line, a tendency to dribble through challenges, a reasonable eye for goal and excellent body control when moving quickly, aided by their low center of gravity.
Both are carbon copies of each other, stylistically and physically.
With Bielsa’s admiration for James’ style no secret and Summerville rewarded for impressing in the preseason, there are subtle indicators that Bielsa sees a future for the 19-year-old at Elland Road.
“He is one of the young people who has evolved the most. This is what generates optimism but the hardest thing is yet to be done,” Bielsa said earlier this month, referring to Summerville .
Costa and Poveda struggled to meet expectations. There is no clearer measure of this that Bielsa happily dispensed with both for the remainder of the season, had Valencia been content with his addition.
Summerville, on the other hand, still has a lot to prove – as Bielsa mentioned – but is playing with supreme confidence and is on an upward trajectory.
It would be unrealistic to expect him to challenge James and Raphinha for a first-team spot right now.
But in 12-18 months, if others in that position are still waiting for their breakup with the Argentinian and the Dutchman continues his ascent while following Dan James, nothing in his current performance suggests he would not be able to. climb to the plate level.