Date:Saturday July 30 2011
With just 2 weeks to go until we start our new Premiership campaign away at Manchester City on Monday 15th August, Vital Swansea takes a look at the transfer activity over the Summer so far.
Darren Pratley (free):
The long-running saga of Darren Pratley's future - which lasted almost an entire season last year finally came to an end with an inevitable result - he left to join Bolton Wanderers.
Pratley wanted a new contract talks before last season started, but the midfielder told the press that chairman Huw Jenkins said there was no budget to start talks over a new deal. Pratley expressed his disappointment at this, and the fans were then angered after he refused new contract talks later on in the season - ever since then his future in South Wales was in serious doubts. Some fans showed their anger during games, and mid-way through the year he was on the bench after a drop in form.
A midfielder who had served us well ever since he joined from Fulham in 2005. The club should have got him secured under a longer deal, so even if he did decide to leave we could have got a decent fee for him.
Dorus De Vries (free):
Another key player that should have been on a longer contract so we could have got a fee for him, but he too rejected a new contract to join Wolves.
De Vries' decision to leave wasn't as expected as Pratley's. There's been reports that the relegation terms in a new contract for Dorus didn't meet his requirements.
He's joined a club with a better chance of avoiding relegation than Swansea City. Wolves have been there and avoided the drop twice but I still expect them to be fighting near the bottom.
He's also most likely to, despite having better wages, be sitting on the bench all season behind number 1 goalkeeper and Welsh international Wayne Henessey.
Cedric van der Gun, Albert Serran, Jamie Grimes and Kerry Morgan.
Players we're lucky to keep this Summer:
Angel Rangel: The Spanish right-back's contract also expired this Summer, but unlike de Vries and Pratley, he decided to sign a new contract. Last year, he hoping to join Blackpool but a deal never happened so you could easily assume that he'd want to leave us this year as he was a free agent.
Neil Taylor: The 22 year-old left back said it was the worst month of his career in June when there was an on-going saga about a possible move to Newcastle United. The Magpies were interested in signing him and they believed they had the right to sign him having activated a clause in his contract after bidding £1.1m. The Swans claimed the clause only allowed the two parties to talk, and that they could still reject the bid. By all accounts, the media blew the whole thing out of proportion and Taylor later said he had every intention in staying at the club and signing a new contract. Just wish he had come out and said that much earlier on.
Both full backs above are vital to our defence. Both are good on the attack and sound defensively - and they fit in very well with our style. They would have been very difficult to replace if they had left us.
Ashley Williams: You have to wonder when the centre back will be snapped up by a bigger Premiership club. The Welsh international has proved to be one of the best and most consistent performers in the Championship but yet no club has made a serious bid for him this year.
As above, a player absolutely vital to our defence for the forthcoming Premiership season.
Danny Graham (£3.5m, Watford, striker):
Last season's top Championship goalscorer with 24 goals, so he certainly knows where the goal is and he has plenty of confidence and belief in his ability. He'll be relishing the opportunity to continue his goalscoring form in the Premiership and having played under Rodgers at Watford, he'll surely fit in well.
The striker also admitted that Rodgers and his style of football at Swansea attracted him to moving to South Wales, as he also had the chance to join West Brom and QPR.
A proven finisher at Championship level, but can he do the same in the Premier League? If we can provide him with chances, I can't see why not. Graham says he feels no pressure being our record signing, but he's the main striker we'll be looking at to get us goals.
Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur, loan, defender):
The England under-21 international defender will add plenty of height and quality to the Swansea defence next season. Last season he played 29 games on loan at Bristol City scoring 2 goals and he'll be pushing hard for a regular first team place, but it'll be difficult getting ahead of either captain Garry Monk and Ashley Williams.
Only 19 years old so lacks experience at the highest level, but Brendan Rodgers is happy working with youngsters and can usually get the best out of his players. He'll give us plenty of height and pace at the back which is what we need. He could well start against Manchester City as Garry Monk is a doubt with an injury.
Jose Moreira (undisclosed, Benfica, goalkeeper):
Moreira is a rather unknown, having been at Benfica for a long 12-year spell. The 29 year-old, 6ft 1 shot stopper has won 1 international cap for Portugal and made 112 appearances for his club.
Last season he was third choice goalkeeper behind Cesar and Roberto so you wonder if he's good enough to take over as number 1 at Swansea City. Brendan Rodgers' top priority is to sign another goalkeeper now - one good enough to replace Dorus De Vries as our number 1.
Leroy Lita (£1.75m, Middlesbrough, striker):
Chairman Huw Jenkins revealed that Leroy Lita has been a target for Brendan Rodgers ever since he first joined us as manager a year ago.
The Swans boss thinks the club have got a 'fantastic deal' and that he could be a fans' favourite.
Some fans aren't convinced he's good enough at Premier League level and also think he's too expensive at £1.75m but they'll have to trust Rodgers' judgement and his ability to get the best out of him. Not exactly prolific in the Championship with Middlesbrough, but hopefully he can score more regularly in a team that should suit him better.
It was disappointing to see two first team players leave - Darren Pratley and Dorus De Vries. Hopefully Ferrie Bodde can be fully fit for the season to replace Pratley, but so far de Vries is proving difficult in finding a replacement for him.
We were fortunate to hang on to full back pair Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor, and whilst we have brought in Steven Caulker, we still need extra strength in depth at the back. At present, there's 6 defenders at the club, with Tate being our main replacement, not enough to cope with the pressures and challenges of the Premier League.
The midfield looks strong enough, especially if Bodde can make himself available soon. It could be also be boosted with the possible arrival of Wayne Routledge who will provide competition to wingers Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer.
Brendan Rodgers probably never thinks he's got enough strikers but he has enough to choose from - Danny Graham, Leroy Lita, Craig Beattie and Luke Moore. Some fans will have serious doubts though that the latter two can offer much in the top flight.
Date:Saturday July 30 2011
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