We all love to see young players come through at Swansea City. Many of our greatest ever players have come through our youth setup, Ivor Allchurch, Mel Charles, Robbie James and Alan Curtis to name a few.
In recent years the production has dried up but one of the exceptions was Joe Allen. His talent was obvious as soon as Roberto Martinez gave him his first start in a League Cup game vs. Walsall in 2007 and he deservedly won the man of the match award. He would go onto make well over 100 appearances for the club over the next half a decade as we won two promotions to take our place at the summit of English football.
There was an air of inevitability that he would one day become too big for us and it was no surprise when he eventually signed for Liverpool for a then club record, £15 million. It was a good deal if truth be told. At that stage the Swans were about to enter their second year in the top flight and used the money to bring in the likes of Chico Flores, Jonathan De Guzman, Ki Sung Yeung and Michu which helped take the club to the next level.
Meanwhile Allen featured regularly after making the switch to Anfield initially but was then used more sparingly after his 1st year on Merseyside with most of his appearances coming as a substitute. It seemed inevitable that he would move on this summer and there was much hope amongst the Jack Army that he would return home after four years away.
It seemed like the perfect time, the Swans had endured a mediocre campaign in 2015/6 and needed fresh faces who will make an instant impact. Also with the new TV deal coming into play, the club would now be able to afford certain players who were previously out of reach with Allen being the perfect example of this.
Only that has not been the case and we have now been given the grim news this evening that he has signed for Stoke. Now I could live with him choosing them over us as painful as that would be but it appears that we didn’t even try to get him which leaves me very frustrated.
Now you may say that we have other priorities and yes it can’t be denied that we are desperate for a striker but a deal for a front man doesn’t exactly seem forthcoming either.
But anyway regardless of that we still could have done this deal. There was speculation that Stoke had bid £7 million for Ki earlier in the window and if that’s true it would surely have made sense to move on a player who summed up our struggles last terms and use some of that cash to fund a return for a much better player.
That deal could be pure speculation but what isn’t is that we paid £5 million for Leroy Fer last month. I’m not disputing that the Dutchman is a good addition to the squad but is he as good as Joe Allen? Not a chance in hell and this money again could have been used to fund his transfer instead.
Unfortunately it looks as if we were too tight to fund this move and when you consider the new TV deal and that we are in profit this summer from selling Alberto Paloschi and Eder, I have to question where our ambition has gone? Are we turning into Newcastle and Villa, are happy to spend as little as possible just to stay in this division? Because if we are then we will go only one way; and that’s down. Maybe not straight away but eventually it will happen.
Many fans, including myself, have been frustrated by how quiet the club have been over the summer and remain unconvinced by the new American ownership. A statement of intent like this wouldn’t have won us over but it would have been a start. Instead we’ve missed out on a player who would have improved us considerably and one who would have played for the shirt and not his wages and you can’t put a price on that.
Sadly our board decided that price was too high, and I can only hope that if a striker like this comes along we push the boat out because if we don’t, it looks like it’s going to be a long season.