Weeks after sealing a debut Premier League campaign through a thrilling 4-2 playoff final victory over Reading, Swansea City’s build-up to the new season has been marred by accusations from Ipswich Town and a demand from the Championship side for a transfer embargo to be placed on the Welsh side. Swansea deny any wrongdoing.
The furore erupted when Ipswich alleged Swansea failed to pay the wages of on-loan striker Tamas Priskin for the full, agreed duration – Priskin’s loan spell ended via injury in April but it is claimed by Ipswich that Swansea were to pay the Hungarian’s wages through to May, with further payments relating to the Swans’ progression in the playoffs. Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins said in a statement he was unaware of Ipswich’s complaint to the Premier League, noting he spoke with Simon Jenkins, the Ipswich chief executive, a few weeks ago, and described himself as “surprised
Goalkeeper de Vries joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on a free transfer in June after rejecting a new contract, following four years spent in Wales, joining the club when they were a League One outfit under Roberto Martinez and featuring in their rise to the top flight, playing 194 games and setting a clean sheet record of 25 in 2009-10 along the way. Finding a new No 1 to replace the Dutchman must be considered among Rodgers’ priorities for the summer, and a host of names have been rumoured. Former Blackburn Rovers ‘keeper Jason Brown, West Bromwich Albion’s Boaz Myhill and Motherwell custodian Darren Randolph are just a few of the players linked to take de Vries’ gloves, but Polish stopper Grzegorz Sandomierski, 21, would appear top of Rodger’s wanted list. The Swans have reportedly made an offer for the Jagiellonii Bialystok player, who local newspaper The Western Mail say has in the past attracted interest from Manchester United, Manchester City, Inter and Juventus.
Sandomierski would join new arrival Danny Graham in Wales. Graham, a £3.5m signing from Watford, made his Premier League debut for Middlesbrough in 2004-05 but failed to make an impact in the top flight, scoring only twice for the North East side and spending time on loan at Darlington, Derby County, Leeds United, Blackpool and Carlisle United, eventually joining the latter permanently in 2007. Four years on Graham is back in the Premier League, holding responsibility for the goals to keep Swansea up. Graham joins the speedy Scott Sinclair and Luke Moore and the creative Stephen Dobbie as the backbone of Rodger’s attack. It is a hefty responsibility on the foursome’s shoulders, three of whom – Sinclair, Moore and Graham – have had a taste of the top flight and struggled while Dobbie has spent most of his career bouncing around the Scottish Premier League. Other strikers have been linked – Leroy Lita, Marvin Emnes and Sidney Govou amongst them.
Swansea have been seeking to improve defensively this summer too. Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna is the highest-profile figure to have been linked with a move to Wales, the Brazilian-born Spain international defensive midfielder having met with the club’s representatives and negotiations reported to have gone well. Rodgers was optimistic that the European Championship winner would wear the white shirt next season, and stressed that the experience the 34-year-old would bring to the side is only one positive. “There are many outstanding players out there, but maybe not so many fit into the way we play. Marcos he has that background from playing for Spain and playing in La Liga for Villarreal, who pass the ball very well. In our conversation we talked about the 4-3-3 system we use here so there will be no issues.” The style Swansea will bring to the Premier League has been much discussed, with comparisons as inaccurate as they are inevitable made to the swashbuckling Blackpool last season, but Rodgers’ side are their own animal. As the pursuit of Senna shows, Swansea can aim higher than the Seasiders in the transfer market – only time will tell if they can enjoy a more successful season.
Danny Graham FWD – Watford, £3.5m
Dorus de Vries GK – Wolves, Free
Darren Pratley MID – Released
Grzegorz Sandomierski GK – Jagiellonii Bialystok
Ryan Bertrand DEF – Chelsea
Marcos Senna MID – Villarreal
Leroy Lita FWD – Middlesbrough