Thursday, 27 July 2017

Former Swansea striker Michu pens heartfelt statement after retiring at 31

For a while, no Swan moved as gracefully as Michu. Following the departure of Gylfi Sigurdsson (something the club is actively trying to avoid this summer) in 2012, the club paid a modest £2million to acquire the services of the relatively-unknown forward.
Although expectations were modest, Michu scored twice on his debut in a thumping 5-0 win over Queens Park Rangers and the rest, as they say, was history. Unfortunately, now so is Michu. Yes, the floppy haired Spaniard who once captured the hearts and minds of the Liberty Stadium faithful, has been forced to retire at the age of 31.
Michu confirmed Thursday that a persistent ankle injury has forced him to hang up his boots.
In a heartfelt statement, he said: “According to medical reports, the current situation of my right ankle has come to a point where it has forced me to say goodbye as a professional football player today," Michu said in a statement on his Twitter account.
"Even though I am saying farewell to you with so much sorrow, I know that we will always be united. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the magical moments that you have given to me during all this time.
"I feel privileged to have fulfilled a dream that is shared by so many of us since childhood. The dream of becoming a professional player in this sport.
"Because of you, the public have given me an invaluable affection that I will never be able to repay. Indeed, I feel I have done nothing to deserve it all."
While Michu was unable to make much of an impact at Real Oviedo, Swansea fans will forever remember him as the clinical finisher who sunk Arsenal at the Emirates, who scored both home and away against Manchester United and ended the 2012/13 season with 22 goals, making him one of the finest bargains of the Premier League era.
Of course, he also played a pivotal role in catapulting Michael Laudrup’s side to the club’s first major honour – the Capital One Cup, with Michu scoring in the 5-0 final win over Bradford City. However, injury curtailed his progress and he featured sparingly in the second season, before a fruitless loan spell at Napoli.
In the classy statement, Michu added: “Before I conclude, I would like to tell you that I consider myself an honest guy, thanks to the education I received from my family and that I have always tried to do my very best for every club that you have lead me to. I wholeheartedly apologise if, at any point, my acts may have upset any of your supporters, who love you madly as I do.”

That’s how to sign off, folks.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Leon Britton Deal is Great News for Swans and Player's Future

News of Leon Britton signing a year’s contract extension with the Swans is excellent news.

Britton is undoubtedly a club legend having played over 520 games for the club and remains key figure even if his appearances are limited. The 34-year-old first ran out for the swans some 16-years ago during a loan spell before signing permanently in 2003. The midfielder then of course spent seven memorable years with the Jacks before leaving for Sheffield United.

However, Britton didn’t stay away that easily and just a year later, returned and was part of the Swans’ great rise to the Premier League, the rest is history. The Englishman made just 18 appearances last season but played a key part in that end of season run in where the Jacks went five games unbeaten to retain a top flight status. Still a great passer of the ball and excellent at winning it back, Britton is the perfect experienced player to keep heads calm when trying to hang on for the win and it’s no surprise that he’s looking to go into coaching for there is no-one more suited.
Of his contract extension, Britton said: “I am very happy. Everyone knows how much the club means to me.

"I just spoke with the chairman and it was just a five-minute conversation phone call and everything was agreed."

Britton has already started his coaching badges and the new deal guarantees Britton a coaching role with the Jacks following his retirement from playing. The 34-year-old has been completing his coaching badges with the Football Association of Wales.
The new deal also guarantees Britton a coaching role at Swansea after he retires from playing. He has been doing his coaching badges with the Football Association of Wales.


He said: “It (coaching) is something I spoke to the chairman and manager about. There is maybe an opportunity when I decide to finish my playing time at Swansea the club will keep me on in some capacity.

"It is still something to speak about later on down the line but we have had discussions about. At the moment I am focusing on the football side of things and when that finishes we will sit down and see what the club are thinking.

"I have done the B licence and the A licence with the FAW the season just gone."

Huw Jenkins recognised his services. The chairman paid tribute to our beloved club stalwart: "Leon has been and still is a fantastic servant to this football club," said Jenkins. 

"He is a model pro and we are very proud he is representing Swansea City. I hope this new contract paves the way for Leon to remain with us for many more years to come.


"He has made a tremendous contribution to this club, both on and off the pitch, over the last 15 years."

It would be excellent to see Britton’s services recognised even further with a testimonial somewhere down the line.

Alfie Mawson Making a Name for Himself

Three things are certain in life; death, taxes and England losing a penalty shootout to Germany. England U21s crashed out of the European Championships this week having lost 4-3 on penalties to Germany following a hard fought 2-2 draw in the semi-final.

Despite crashing out of the competition, the England youngsters certainly delivered a string of performances that they can proud of. Swans’ starlet Alfie Mawson wore the captain’s armband for the Three Lion’s youngsters and did an excellent job in doing so. In the group stages, the U21s conceded just one goal in three games, Mawson part of the defence that helped to keep clean sheets against Sweden and Poland.
The 23-year-old, who has recently stated his desire to captain both club and country, even scored the equaliser against Slovakia. However, unfortunately for the Swans, Mawson’s form is attracting the Premier League big boys and Tottenham are said to be considering a £15million offer. Though, surely if Mauricio Pochettino does believe Mawson has the potential to captain both his club and country then Spurs should go ahead and submit that £15million offer?

Mawson is already a fine defender and leader but at 23, still has bags of potential waiting to be unlocked. The former Barnsley man may have only experienced one season in the top flight but he has clearly made a big impression, but will it be lasting? There is no doubt that Mawson will continue his fine form of last season and help to form part of a solid back line at the Liberty Stadium.
And should the 23-year-old continue to develop at a rapid rate, that £15million is likely to rise even further and even more so given the fact he is English. Virgil van Djik is being flouted at a staggering £60million and it’s not impossible that Mawson will one day be deemed worth that much.

With over a decade left to play at the top level, if Spurs were to acquire Mawson for just £15million, it would certainly be a steal for the potential super star. However, the Jacks should certainly knock any bid back as if Mawson is to leave South Wales, getting another year or two out of the defender would be great on the pitch and it may also see his price tag rocket which of course is great news for transfer funds.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Swans stand firm over star man Sigurdsson

Everton’s £30million bid for Gylfi Sigurdsson will come as a surprise to few, however, the boarding reject that bid will come as a relief to many.

The Icelandic star was always going to be the recipient of a host of attention during the transfer window and unfortunately, aside from reject any bid, there is little the club can do about it. That said, Sigurdsson’s own comments do bring a sense of commitment from the 27-year-old. Sigurdsson stated that he is currently happy in South Wales and is not actively seeking an exit, thus it is “down to the club” if they wish to cash-in on his talent, following a brilliant season.
If the Jacks’ relegation battle proved anything it was that Sigurdsson’s creative flair is hard to come by these days and it’s refreshing to see Steve Kaplan, Jason Levien and Paul Clement stand firm over their wishes to keep the midfielder. Kaplan and Levien have made it clear that they want to keep old of last season’s Player of the Year and have already fended off previous interest in the former Spurs man.

Of the Swans’ 45 league goals last season, Sigurdsson was directly involved in almost 49%, just short of half. He scored nine and assisted 13 and was personally responsible for helping Clement’s men accumulate 14 points. Without Sigurdsson, the Swans would have finished on just 27 points in 19th place. Only Jermain Defoe with 58% of Sunderland’s goals and Romelu Lukaku with 50% of Everton’s tally rivalled Sigurdsson to such a feat.

Though, even with the board rejecting the bid from Everton, that is unlikely to deter Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman has already splashed out on Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as the Toffees’ new owners look to go huge summer spending spree. However, it remains whether to be seen if the club will increase their bid of £30million.

In more positive news for the Swans, Everton have agreed a £5.2million deal for Malaga striker Sandro Ramirez. The 21-year-old will officially sign at Goodison Park following the conclusion of the European U21 Championship, though the player wishes to focus on tomorrow’s semi-final as Spain take on Poland.
And how is this good news for the Swans? Well, Ramirez’s replacement at Malaga is none other than Borja Baston. Negotiations are said to be progressing going well for the £15million record buy so the club should hopefully be able to at least recoup some of their transfer fee whilst offloading the former Atletico Madrid man from the wage bill.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Swans eye Bayern Munich's Holger Badstuber

Earlier this week we reported that Tammy Abraham was being linked with a move to the Liberty Stadium. Several other names have been mentioned with the Swans since, and a rumour regarding Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber looks to be picking up pace.

What makes the rumour even more interesting is that the 28-year-old has worked with Paul Clement previously between June 2016 and January 2017 at the Allianz Arena. Their working relationship only ended when the Swans made their move for Clement.

The defender has made some 178 appearances for Bayern but after a number of niggling injuries, Bastuber’s time at the Bundesliga giants has very much been blighted in recent years. Still, the defender has been capped for Germany 31-times and should he stay fit, would be an excellent acquisition for the Swans backline.
The 28-year-old spent the last half of the 2016/17 campaign on loan to Schalke 04 and with his contract expiring next month, a host of clubs are said to be interested in his signature. He made ten appearances for the Bundesliga side, recording an impressive pass success percentage of 91.2%. However, passing is the only aspect of the game that Badstuber seems to excel at, but he is also pretty handy when it comes to retaining possession. Should he be bound for the Liberty Stadium, he will of course offer some excellent competition for Aflie Mawson and Federico Fernandez who have recently cemented themselves as first-choice centre back pairing under Clement. 

Jordi Amat has been linked with a move away from South Wales and a transfer for Badstuber may all but seal the Spaniard’s fate. Whilst Amat was once ranked in the top ten best defenders in the world, Badstuber has received a similar accolade in the past and was previously regarded as one of the most talented centre backs in Europe. Should the German international have stayed injury-free, it would certainly have been interesting to see how his career panned out. Also capable of perating at left-back, Badstuber would certainly offer Clement some versatility and should Martin Olsson get injured, he could step in and do a competent job we’re sure. Former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal once described Badstuber as the best left-footed defender in Germany, quite the reference.
Manchester City have been linked with a move for Badstuber in the past, however, it’s unlikely that the 28-year-old will interest Guardiola now.