Farke admits failed bid for Man Utd star James

Norwich City
Daniel James stole the show on his debut as goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner got United off to a winning start in Perth.

Daniel Farke says he tried to lure Daniel James to Norwich this summer before Manchester United made their intent to sign the then Swansea City star known.

Norwich boss Farke is preparing his side to stop James this Sunday when the struggling Canaries host the equally troubled Red Devils at Carrow Road.

The 21-year-old Wales winger has been one of the season’s bright spots for United so far and no-one is really questioning the wisdom of paying Swansea £15million for a player who was unproven at Premier League level.

And Farke himself never had any doubts about James’ upward trajectory after witnessing at first hand the damage he did to defences in the Championship last season.

The unassuming Welshman scored against Norwich in a 4-1 defeat for his former side – one of five goals and 10 assists he notched in all competitions last term.

And Farke admits he was – and still is – a big fan.

“Sadly when Man United call, there is no chance for Norwich to get a player,” Farke admitted. “I’m not surprised he has become a key player for them so early. All respect to him because he is already crucial.”

Farke is now focused on trying to stop James and Manchester United on Sunday and has suggested a win against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be akin to the remarkable result Norwich achieved against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in September.

However, the mood has changed in the intervening period, with injuries robbing Farke of all-but-one of his central defenders and several key midfielders, too, although Teemu Pukki remains a constant in attack.

However, that famous win over Pep Guardiola’s men was also the last time Pukki found the back of the net in the Premier League, having drawn a blank in his last four appearances.

“He was scoring goals for fun at the beginning,” said Farke of his six-goal forward. “Hopefully he can deliver another special performance.”