Jack Cork always gave his all and was a model professional during his two and a half years at Swansea City. He was solid but also unspectacular and that statement proves exactly why we have made the right decision to accept a good offer from Burnley for his services.
The son of our former manager Alan, arrived in January 2015 to bolster our midfield it appeared to be astute business by Garry Monk. A proven English midfielder whose best years lay ahead for around £3 million is not the kind of deal you find too often.
Cork made a good start to life in South Wales by quickly establishing in the first team, often at the base of the midfield diamond Monk was to introduce with a dozen or so games of the 2014/15 season left.
A personal highlight would have been what turned out to be the decisive goal in a 2-3 win at Newcastle which helped us secure an 8th place finish at the conclusion of the season.
The following term whilst disappointing for the club saw Cork’s stock remain high. He made 35 appearances and was nominated for player of the year and ended up winning the goal of the season award for his sweet strike in the home win over Liverpool.
He was a popular choice amongst the fans to be appointed captain after the departure of Ashley Williams and would deputise in the role whenever Leon Britton wasn’t selected.
It was hoped he would go onto become an influential figure in our engine room, but a disastrous first half of the season for the club saw Cork’s reputation take a nosedive as he failed to make much of an impact in games although it’s fair to say he wasn’t the only one.
He was better in the second half of the season, but an injury at West Ham curtailed his season and with the Swans in dire form, Paul Clement changed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 diamond formation. It did the trick as performances drastically improved and the Swans won 13 points from 15 available to stay up.
However harsh it is on Cork though you have to say that those five games proved we can do without him. Leon Britton even at 34 was far better than he’d been at the base of the diamond while Tom Carroll and Leroy Fer also proved their worth defensively and offensively in those games.
Add to that Roque Mesa who has just joined for £11 million and it’s easy to see why Cork would have struggled for game time. If we were to return to 4-2-3-1 then that would have limited his appearances even further.
I personally would have preferred him to stay and for us to sell Ki Sung Young as the South Korean has been almost nonexistent for the last two seasons. However would we get an offer as good for him as we’ve had for Cork? Probably not is the answer and good offers for squad players must always be considered.
Therefore this is a deal that suits all parties. The Swans more than double their money on a squad player that can be reinvested elsewhere (central defence, right back and two wingers are still needed in my option). Cork gets to move somewhere he will play regularly in the Premier League and Burnley sign a player better than what they already have in that position.
Thanks Jack and all the best!