It was one of the sagas of the January transfer window, but when Dan James’ proposed, and many thought agreed, move from Swansea City to Leeds United fell through in the late hours of deadline day, you could have forgiven the Welsh winger had he allowed his head to drop.
Instead the youngster, still experiencing league football for just the first time this season, has fast emerged as one of the bright points of what has been an otherwise disappointing campaign for the Swans.
While there perhaps hadn’t been as much expectation on Swansea as there was on the other two sides relegated from the Premier League, Stoke and West Brom, there can be no denying that fifteenth in the table, albeit just eight points off the playoffs, is somewhat underwhelming.
It is that which makes the performances of the 21-year-old James so impressive.
Just a few weeks ago, James was preparing for a move to Leeds that could potentially have seen him playing Premier League football before the turn of the year.
While that plan has been put on hold for now, it hasn’t stopped James from putting in the type of displays that had Leeds so interested in a player with less than 20 Championship appearances under his belt in the first place.
His solo goal for the Swans in the FA Cup fifth round win over Brentford will be a standout moment of the season for Jacks fans, and even in the recent defeat at Norwich, James was one of those who posed arguably the biggest threat to the defence of the league leaders.
It isn’t just on the pitch that James has been pleasing those of a Swansea persuasion, with the winger’s recent quotes claiming he is hopeful of signing a new deal with the club music to the ears of those who regularly visit The Liberty Stadium.
Given how differently his season, and indeed career, could have been by now, you can only admire the maturity that James has shown in keeping his head down and doing what he does best, and when your best is as good as his, that is perhaps the best possible move for his career itself.