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Farke reveals trying to sign Man Utd's James for Norwich

14:32 EAT 26/10/2019
Daniel James Manchester United 2019-20
The Canaries boss is a fan of the winger after seeing him in action in the Championship last season, but now he is focusing on trying to stop him

Norwich manager Daniel Farke says he tried to sign Daniel James over the summer – before being blown out of the water by Manchester United.

The 21-year-old Wales winger was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first signing of the summer, joining from Swansea in a £15 million ($19m) deal after impressing in the Championship last season.

Farke saw plenty of James as he led his side to the second-tier title, and he scored against the Canaries in a 4-1 defeat for his former side. That was one of five goals and 10 assists he notched in all competitions last term – form which had Farke interested in a transfer.

“He is a player I always liked and I tried to see if there was chance we could work together,” the German said.

“Sadly when Man United call, there is no chance for Norwich to get a player.

“I’m not surprised he has become a key player for them so early. All respect to him because he is already crucial.”

James has been a bright spark in a dour season at Old Trafford, with three goals in his debut top-flight campaign.

His lightning speed and enthusiasm at making runs in behind have added zip to a pedestrian United side, and taken some of the burden off Marcus Rashford’s shoulders in attack.

While Farke might be thinking of what might have been, for the time being he is focused on trying to stop James on Sunday as Norwich welcome United to Carrow Road.

“It’s not a 50-50 game,” he admitted. “I would say it’s only one game in ten that we would be able to gain points.

“But it was the same against Manchester City and we were able to create a magic night.”

While the Canaries’ 3-2 win over City earlier in the season will live long in the memory, it was also the last time forward Teemu Pukki found the net. The Finland international has six goals to his name this season, but none in his last four appearances.

“He was scoring goals for fun at the beginning,” Farke mused. “Hopefully he can deliver another special performance.”