So here we go again with the daft rumours! Those in the ‘know’ are reporting that Liverpool are closing in to sign Ashley Williams this summer and that the reds are confident of getting their man for around £9m. Well what a load of old cobblers. Vultures, speculators and critics once again speculating about us as a club.
It’s not surprising I guess. We play a fast, passing and attractive style of football which is as equally liked for its defensive stability and work rate as it is for its excitement going forward. Pundits and commentators across the world drool over the style of play with the UK’s most liked pundit Gary Neville highlighting us as the ‘team he would pay to watch’ when asked who excites him in the Premier League.
We are in the top 10 of the hardest league in the world and we have finally added real silverware to go with our attractive game and lofty league position. Add to this the fact that we make a £15m profit each year, live within our means, operate a ‘performance’ based pay structure and have fans in the boardroom and owning 20% of the club and it means Swansea City is quite rightly lauded all over the world as an example club both on and off the pitch. Our brand new state of the art training and academy facilities should be ready in just a few weeks’ time and these will provide players of all ages with the perfect facilities to develop their football skills and with a fan base who are patient, supportive and devoted to the club’s players, life in South Wales is good. Plus planning for the bigger Fairwood complex is on the horizon.
Achieving success like this can be done in 2 ways. A) with a potful of money and a ‘who cares what it costs me attitude’ or b) a careful, planned, thought out and rigorous approach where the small amounts of money are looked after as well as larger amounts.
For those that don’t know much about our club (but who like to speculate from London newspapers and media sites) then I can assure you that Swansea City is in camp B. We have a board of directors each of whom treat money as if it’s their own and we also have some strong willed characters who work day and night for the right deal for the football club. Many an agent and company has left South Wales with a flea in their ear after being told to go away and think about their exorbitant fees or salary expectations and whilst the club is happy to pay good money for the right players and services, we will not be taken for mugs.
Liverpool should know that Swansea won’t be bullied and they should remember what happened with Joe Allen. I remember someone laughing at me on Twitter when I said that a) we didn’t have to sell as a club if we didn’t want to and b) if we did sell it would be on our terms. When the figure of £15m for Joe was bandied about, people laughed and said we must be joking. They said we would have to come down from that price but we stuck to our guns and said ‘if you want to buy the people we have under contract’ then you need to pay what we want. If you don’t then in polite terms ‘piss off’. We wished Joe Allen (and Brendan Rodgers and Scott Sinclair for that matter) well when they left but just to be clear, they left when the deal was right for Swansea City. If it had not been right, they would still have been here. Fanciful thinking some might call it but I call it facts.
So, this leads me onto the current ridiculous rumours. Apparently Brendan wants our team captain Ashley Williams, the Wales captain, a strong, injury free 28 year old ball playing centre half who is probably one of the best centre halves in the Premier League for the pricely sum of £9m! Not only is Ashley Williams one of the best centre halves in the Premier League but he is a great man with a real hard work ethic who understands how privileged he is to be a footballer and is a true leader on and off the field. He has played every game bar 2 (Fulham away last year because of a virus and against Liverpool this year as we had a major cup final to win the following week) in our last 2 Premier League seasons and has won countless admirers for his strength, attitude, hunger and passing skills.
Why only £9m? Liverpool have paid £20m for Stuart Downing and £18m for Jordan Henderson and so what makes them think they can try and get a leader like Ashley Williams for £9m!!! The reality is that big clubs (like Liverpool) like to think they can bully so called ‘smaller clubs’ like Swansea. They think that any money is good money and that when the figures go past £5m, we will start salivating like rabid dogs at the thought of seeing our bank balance credited with that amount of cash.
So let me state this.
a) We don’t need to sell or want to sell. Ashley Williams is our team captain and integral to our club. He signed a long term contract last year and is contracted to play with us for another 3 ½ years
b) If he was to go (and that is a massive IF because he is happy and well remunerated at Swansea) then it would be a lot more than £9m. If you added a 1 to that figure you would be close but my gut feel is that it would be around the £20m mark and it would only occur IF the player stated he wanted to go.
I have written this not because I want to add fuel to the fire but because I want to make it clear to the speculators that whatever you might think Liverpool could sign him for, then you are wrong. Swansea City will do what is right for us and we will not be held to ransom by any player, agent or executive from any other football club that thinks they can nick our best players (and manager for that matter) for tiny fees.
Laugh if you want but if and when players do leave (and many have seen how De Vries, Pratley, Sinclair etc have progressed since they left us and so are well aware that the grass is not always greener) it will be for a price that we are happy with and on our terms.
If you don’t like that take your attentions elsewhere and start to unsettle someone else’s club or a club that is desperate to make a quick buck. Swansea City has achieved great success this year and I know for a fact that everyone at the club feels that with our stadium plans and other initiatives we can continue to grow for many years to come. Yes, the competition in the Premier League is tough but we will continue to operate in a way that has brought us success and those in charge at the club will continue to fight for the best deal for us.
So in summary. £9m as a valuation for Ashley Williams is laughable and is a value that if brought to the club will make our board laugh. If you want quality then you have to pay for it and Ashley Williams, Ben Davies, Michu, Chico Flores, Michel Vorm and all our other star performers are performing to the highest standard in the Premier League each and every week. They are happy at Swansea City and are looking forward to playing in Europe next season. So do us all in Swansea a favour and go and bother other clubs with laughable transfer rumours and speculation. We will do what’s right for us and if you don’t like it then…..