Swansea City Chief Executive Julian Winter believes ‘it was time’ for former full-back Connor Roberts to move on during the summer transfer window, speaking to the BBC.
Roberts, 25, secured a move to Premier League side Burnley on transfer deadline day last month for a fee believed to be in the region of £2.5m, after establishing himself as a key figure for the Swans in the past three seasons.
The right-back made 129 Championship appearances for Russell Martin’s side since the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign on their return to the second tier, coming through the Welsh side’s youth system and proving to be one of their success stories in recent years, playing a huge part in their two consecutive play-off finishes.
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Although he was unable to guide Swansea to the Premier League, narrowly missing out against Brentford in the final back in May, he has already played on the biggest stage for Wales at the European Championships this summer and even scored for his national side against Turkey in the group stages.
However, a severe groin injury against Denmark in the knockout stages ended his tournament early and this kept him out of his domestic side’s first-team plans for the start of the 2021/22 campaign, failing to make a single appearance.
And with the 25-year-old rejecting fresh terms at the Swansea.com Stadium, with his previous contract with the second-tier side expiring next summer, the club took the decision to let go of him for a cut-price £2.5m deal.
Speaking to the BBC about this agreement, Swansea’s Chief Executive Julian Winter said: “We took a view with Connor it was time for him to go.
“He’d only got a year left. Was he going to run his contract down? We don’t know, but he may have done and he’d have ended up going for nothing.
“So you’ve got to make a judgement at the end of the day.”
To lose someone like Roberts was inevitably a massive blow for the club, but you can’t really blame them for striking this deal with the defender rejecting a new contract in South Wales.
Especially with Burnley’s interest, which he would have found out about regardless of whether the Swans had accepted the offer or not, there was every chance he would’ve just run down his contract and walked away for nothing.
After losing star striker Andre Ayew for nothing this summer, although they may have been grateful to clear a high wage off their books, this would have been a disaster for a side who aren’t afraid to sell.
And as long as they re-invest the money generated from his sale, then there can be no real complaints on this one.
Reinvestment has been a key problem though after seeing the likes of Dan James, Oli McBurnie and Joe Rodon leave for ten-figure fees in recent years and very little in comparison being injected back into the first-team squad as a result.