It has been somewhat bittersweet watching Daniel James begin to show signs that can he become a world beater one day.
Of course, from a Swansea perspective, the 21-year-old’s performances have been a joy to watch, but there is a feeling that the Liberty faithful should enjoy it while they can, given that the Premier League vultures are beginning to circle.
You also can’t help but imagine that interest in James is also wonderful news for Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien.
The current Swansea owners have shown on more than one occasion that they are willing to sell, even if the price isn’t right, just so long as they can recoup some sort of fee.
Swansea’s imbalanced transfer accounts
Owners and chairmen of football clubs around the UK often get a lot of stick when it comes to their policies in the transfer market; most of the time it is warranted, but sometimes the anger is misguided.
For the Jack Army, their feelings of mistrust are completely warranted, especially after yet another bleak transfer window in January.
At the end of the summer and winter transfer windows this season, Swansea spent a measly sum of £6.44m on players, with the average age of arrivals being 22.7.
In contrast, the club raked in £44.78m worth of transfer fees with the average age of the departed players being 27.
Basically, the Swans sold all their star players with the experience needed to get out of the Championship. Safe to say, the American Dream Swansea fans were hopeful about has turned into the American nightmare under their new owners.
What’s more startling is that the actual value of the players sold, according to Transfermarkt, is £117.90m, the club were so desperate to let them go that they sold at way below market value.
It really has been a tragic few years at the club, and it’s easy to see why most of the supporters thought Jenkins’ time was up a long while ago.
The 56-year-old may have stepped down as chairman, but that doesn’t mean the club won’t try and flog one of the most promising starlets they have ever had.
Daniel James’ current situation
Graham Potter said it best when he said James’ performances are above Championship level after the 3-1 win over Stoke saw the winger produce another match-winning display.
It certainly was glowing praise from the Swansea boss, but as a Swans fan, you’d be forgiven for feeling a bit paranoid and even put out by his comments given that it sounds by all accounts that the club have given up on keeping him.
Daniel James is absolutely sizzling for Swansea at the moment 🔥
This goal against Stoke last night 😲 pic.twitter.com/TJoaNQOC7e
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) April 10, 2019
In a way, it feels like Potter has begun to soften the inevitable blow that will arrive in the summer when the 21-year-old departs for the Premier League. In a perfect world, the youngster could have made the trip to the promised land with the Swans.
Even if the bookies haven’t written off a play-off spot just yet, with Betway as of the 11th of April pricing the Swans at 14/1 to creep into the top six, it seems the Jacks are sadly destined for another season in the Championship, which may not be where James’ wants to be.
Try as they might, the Swans haven’t been able to convince James to sign a new contract, which, to be fair, might be the reason why they are beginning to make the sounds they are making.
The sticking point at this stage seems to be a staggeringly low buyout clause of £4m, according to Wales Online, with the winger’s deal set to expire in the summer of 2020, which means right now that any potential suitors wouldn’t have to part with a significant amount of money at all for the pleasure of James’ services.
However, after the performances the Welsh winger has put in over the last few months, including a wonderful solo goal in the Emirates FA Cup as well as scoring his first international goal in a win over Slovakia, the Swans have a real chance of coming away with a considerable transfer fee for their most prized asset.
That is, if should he do them the favour of signing a new deal in order to give the club leverage.
— The Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) February 17, 2019
The fact that he hasn’t put pen to paper on a contract extension isn’t surprising given that James may still have a few lingering trust issues with Swansea after sitting at Elland Road on deadline day, waiting for the powers that be to come good on their word that they would let him leave.
The ugly truth
This time around though and given how partial the owners are to a fire sale, it seems plausible that they don’t have any long-term plans to keep the winger, but would hate not to cash in on one of the UK’s most promising talents.
James may be wary of signing a contract with a buyout clause of say, £25m for instance, as he feels it could scupper any potential move to the Premier League – why make it harder for himself to leave? Especially if reports are true, the likes of Man City are monitoring the situation and want to bring him to the Etihad, and you can’t see clubs being put off by that fee.
However, if the owners want Daniel James to put the interests of the club first in order to provide them with a transfer fee that could inspire a promotion charge next season, they may have another thing coming.