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Manchester United summer transfer twist that Leeds United took advantage of identified

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It seems a difference of opinion behind the scenes at Manchester United allowed Leeds United to complete on of their more eye-catching deals of last summer’s transfer window.

That’s after a report from The Athletic revealed that then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have preferred to sell Anthony Martial over Dan James during that market.

Having originally missed out on a deal for James in 2019, Leeds finally got their man on the final day of last summer’s transfer window, with the winger joining for a reported £25million.

Now however, it seems that James’ move to Elland Road might not have been completed, had Solskjaer got his way.

According to this latest update, Solskjaer had favoured selling Martial and keeping James, apparently giving the Welsh international assurances over his game time.

But with the arrival of Jadon Sancho, and return of Cristiano Ronaldo, meant James was apparently told by one of the club’s hierarchy that he would be seventh choice at Old Trafford, prompting him to make the decision to join Leeds.

As a result, the Manchester United board are then reported to have gone over Solskjaer to sanction the 24-year-old’s move to Leeds.

Since joining Marcelo Bielsa’s side, James has scored two goals and provided one assist in 20 appearances in all competitions for the Elland Road club.

This is an intriguing one from a Leeds United perspective.

It is Martial is not a player the Elland Road club have been linked with in the past, which is obviously not the case with James, even before last summer’s move.

As a result, when you combine that with Bielsa’s preference to revisit past transfer targets, you feel that had Solskjaer got his wish to sell Martial and keep James, Leeds might not have got a player courtesy of events going on at Old Trafford.

While James has yet to really hit the heights many might have expected since joining, there can be no doubting his ability, meaning those events with the Red Devils could still prove rather beneficial for Leeds.

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UCLan Sports Journalism graduate. Have been working for Leeds All Over since summer 2020, and can only be found writing on Football League World.