Dorus De Vries has left Swansea City.
For me this is a bigger shame than Darren Pratley and (possibly) Neil Taylor leaving, as it seems to have cropped up from nowhere. I know he was out of contract, but I must have just assumed he'd sign another one. Football lesson #1: Never assume anyone will be playing for your team next season.
I think I'm more confused than anything.
It might be more understandable had Swansea failed to achieve promotion last season, or were in a Cardiff-type state (complete disarray), but that's not the case. Swansea were promoted, have been gifted £90million, have a great team and management in place and have some of the best supporters in the land. Dorus will know this.
Maybe his departure was a lifestyle reason? Unlikely though; I've been to Wolverhampton and, despite what the Wolverhampton tourist board may claim, it has no charm or beauty. Well, none compared to that of Swansea. So we can rule out “change of scenery”.
Could it be the manager? I've never been managed by him personally, but Brendan Rodgers strikes me as an excellent boss, one who you'd struggle to dislike and one who let's the players play their own way. I can't see the appeal of Mick McCarthy over the Kilimanjaro conqueror, so it can't be a reason.
Maybe we don't have to look further than De Vries himself who said (speaking to Wolves club website): "Wolves are a club with all the fundamentals in place to grow and expectations are higher than at Swansea at this moment in time.”
This, again, is odd. I think expectations are very high in Swansea. Higher than they must be at Wolves. A team still flying on the promotion high (I know the crash will come soon enough) against a team who avoided relegation by a point on the final day. I may be a little disillusioned, but I predicted (before this news came to light) that Swansea would probably finish on par, if not higher than, Wolves. Maybe De Vries knows something I don't?
After discussing all these points, it should be clear by now that money is the reason De Vries left Swansea. (I would like to point out that while I am naturally focussing my attention on the Dutchman, it is generally the same story for Darren Pratley and any others that choose to leave now).
In football, money overtook loyalty years ago. Gone are the days where a player will spend his entire career with one club (bar a few exceptions – Giggs, Del Piero, Scholes) and it's such a shame for the sport.
As we all know, the joy of having 20,000 fans chanting your name is nothing compared to the sheer bliss of that extra few grand a week. Forget the kids who save up pocket money for a new kit and have your name sewn onto their shirts, only for you to leave the next week. Forget the fans in stands similar to the Tesco Stand all over the country who will now have to co-ordinate another chant for their star keeper.
Player loyalty (the lack of it) is almost enough to put you off football.
Why can't more players be like Alan Tate? Can anyone remember Alan Tate holding up his Swansea shirt for the camera's when he signed? No, because it was so long ago! One of those rare players that will probably stay with the club for his entire career (and it's not just because no-one else wants him).
So the departure of De Vries leaves a big space to fill. Swansea are currently being linked with Poland international Grzegorz Sandomierski (a lovely name for the commentators to get wrong). However, the 21-year old has impressed a number of top clubs, including Man City, Juventus and Chelsea, so don't hold your breath on this one.
I felt Swansea already needed another keeper before this happened; as a back up in case De Vries got injured. I don't feel Yves MaKalambay is Premier League material yet, though worth hanging on to as a third keeper.
Now Rodgers has another mountain to climb in getting two good quality goalkeepers into the squad; at least one of them with enough experience to face the likes of Rooney, Tevez and Drogba next season.
I guess Alan Tate could take the gloves again?