Ryan Giggs tells Daniel James to be himself at Manchester United, not be anyone else as the club confirms deal in principle

Manchester United confirmed on Friday afternoon that they have agreed on a deal in principle to sign 21-year-old Daniel James from Swansea City this summer. It was also confirmed that more details would be announced after the international transfer window opens on Tuesday 11 June 2019. James may have played for Swansea in the Championship but he is registered by the Welsh FA, meaning it will be an international transfer.

It has been reported in the media that United will pay Swansea £15 million for James with £3 million in add ons. Whilst he might not yet be a household name in the world of football, it does not mean he is not talented. United has signed well-known football players in the past and it has hardly worked out well for them, Alexis Sanchez for example.

Wales manager and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has experience of James as a player and has recently called him up for the UEFA European Championships qualifiers against Croatia (Saturday 8 June, KO 14:00 BST) and Hungary (Tuesday 11 June, KO 19:45 BST). He has played twice for Wales already, scoring his first goal in his second appearance, against Slovakia in March. Giggs expects James to be a star at United, saying:

“United are getting an exciting player that I know that Manchester United fans will get behind and enjoy watching him.

“It’s fantastic for everyone, for Dan, for Manchester United and a good deal for Swansea City as well.

“I would say enjoy it, it’s the biggest club in the world so enjoy the challenge.

“He’s potentially going there because of what he’s done over the last year or so, especially the last six months. Be yourself, don’t be anyone else.”

It was reported a number of weeks ago that United was interested in James and the speculation suggested that a deal was close to being announced. However, after the sudden death of his father, the player was given time to get over the initial grief, rather than being taken advantage of during this process of transfer. Giggs also spoke about this unfortunate event which delayed the transfer of the player, saying:

“Obviously after the terrible news we had to be flexible and everything was on the table. I spoke to him numerous times over the last 10 days or so.

“He didn’t come to Portugal but met up with us to train in Wrexham. He went home on Thursday but he’s fine, he’s in a good place. He’s assured me that he’s ready to play but we’ll have to see how we go.

“He’s a level-headed lad but I agree, a lot has gone on over the last 10 days. But he’s been fine around the group so we’ll just have to see whether he starts but football-wise he’s trained well and I’m really happy.”

James is a player who will excite the supporters both inside Old Trafford and watching from countries around the world. He can play as a winger, even as an attacking midfielder. He is also known for his pace and the trickery he likes to perform. It has been a long time since a player like James graced the wings of a Manchester United team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken a different approach at the Old Trafford club, which is great to see.

On social media, when United announced that they had come to an agreement with Swansea City and the player, the graphic they used had a shield at the top with three stripes, which also contained the words; Youth, Courage, and Success. This says that the approach Solskjaer has taken will be that of bringing in young courageous players which will help the club achieve success, which is more of a long-term approach. This should have been the way the club wanted to move in for the last six years, instead of what they had done, wasting money in most positions in the squad.

So far this summer, United has been linked with more than 60 players, which seems to be the same each and every summer. However, most notably, the likes of James, Sean Longstaff, Nathan Collins, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison to name a few shows that Solskjaer’s approach is going to be so much different. It will be good to see the Norwegian manager add more talented and devoted players into the club this summer, not only to perform but set an example on the rest of the squad.

Whether players have been at United for a decade or just a season, they should all be motivated to perform for the badge on the front of the shirt, their manager, their teammates and more importantly the supporters of the club, whether in the stadium they are playing in, or at home. That, over the past four months or so, has not been prevalent in this squad of players. There are a lot of players who do not deserve to be playing for this club but so far, with none of them being moved on, there are still lessons to learn.

I look forward to seeing James playing for Manchester United during the pre-season tour in which they will face Perth Glory and Leeds United in Perth, Australia, Inter Milan in Singapore, Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai, China, Kristiansund in Oslo, Norway, and AC Milan in Cardiff, Wales. Hopefully, Solskjaer will be able to add some more young and hungry talent to his squad this summer.

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