Monday 11 November 2019

Manchester United have unearthed a gem in £15m James

Not since Javier Hernandez in 2010 have Manchester United had a new signing make such an impact so quickly.
Like Chicharito, Dan James was a relative unknown when he arrived from Swansea for a paltry £15m in the summer, and no one thought that within three months he would become one of this side's go-to match winners. United had been keeping tabs on the Welsh winger for some time, and - signed as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's "cultural reset" - he has been inspired so far. A constant menace, James has been nothing short of brilliant all season. It seems as though United have unearthed another gem. When he arrived, James was touted as one for the future but he is very much part of United's present.

 United haven't had a winger worthy of the name since Cristiano Ronaldo. Not since CR7 left over a decade ago have we possessed a wide man to put us on the edge of our seats and look capable of making something happen every time he collects the ball. James scored on his Reds debut against Chelsea and has never looked back, going on to be voted as Player of the Month for August . There are shades of his national manager Ryan Giggs and another former flying Reds winger, Andrei Kanchelskis, about our number 21.

The jury, perhaps justifiably so, may still be out on the capability of Ole as United boss. But you can't argue with the quality and impact made by all three of his summer buys. Aaron Wan - Bissaka and Harry Maguire arrived as big money singings to strengthen the other end of the pitch and both have impressed in different ways. Wan - Bissaka is the best one-on-one tackler there is and Maguire has held our previosuly hitherto  porous defence together with calmness and authority. It is James, though, who has been worth his weight in gold. Don't forget he came from the Championship as a young player, making the step up from sleepy Swansea to one of the giants of the English game. All this, and throw in the fact that his beloved dad died just days before the Old Trafford move. That, combined with his overnight rise into the national spotlight, and you have an emotionally draining concotion that no student age youngster should ever experience. You'd expect James to take time to adapt to his new palatial surroundings but he's looked more at home in the red of United than some of our more established senior players.

However respectably Maguire and AWB have performed, James is the poster boy for United's emboldended new recruitment strategy. United now cast a 'big trawler net' wide to catch targets after they recognised the Sir Alex Ferguson method worked only for Sir Alex Ferguson.

At £15m James has proved an absolute steal and is surely the signing of the season. Not only that, but he is the best buy United have made for years. In an improving but overall underwhelming season so far for the club as a whole, James - 22 yesterday - has been a bright spark. The Welshman is statistically the most fouled player in the league due to his quick feet and ability on the ball. What impresses me most though is his temerity and bravery. No matter how many times he gets fouled and takes knocks, he always picks himself up and comes back for more. Many others may hide, but James keeps
demanding the ball. Like a certain teenage tyro by the name of Cristiano used to.

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