Swansea City boss Russell Martin has said captain Matt Grimes is open to entering contract negotiations with the club after entering the final year of his deal, speaking to Wales Online.
The midfielder was the subject of strong interest from elsewhere during the summer, with the Swans’ Championship promotion rivals Fulham and AFC Bournemouth and Premier League clubs Watford and Brighton all said to be previously monitoring his situation at the Swansea.com Stadium.
It turned out to the Cottagers who pursued the 26-year-old the most fiercely, reportedly closing in on a move for him at the end of July before launching a deadline day bid for his services.
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In the end, it proved to be Nathaniel Chalobah who arrived at the club permanently following star man Andre-Frank Zambo Anugissa’s departure from Craven Cottage – but with less than 12 months left on Grimes’ current deal in Wales – speculation over his future is unlikely to cease until he puts pen to paper on a new deal.
Despite being captain of the Swans, there are no guarantees he will commit his future to the club after seeing former manager Steve Cooper and previous starlet Andre Ayew leave the club this summer.
The duo and Grimes were the key architects of the Championship club’s consecutive top-six finishes over the past two seasons – and may seek a move elsewhere with the possibility of promotion being reduced this term.
However, his boss Russell Martin has nothing but praise for the 26-year-old who was the subject of intense interest throughout the past few months and speaking to Wales Online on the midfielder’s current situation, he said: “He’s been fantastic.
“I spoke to him yesterday and he’s feeling really positive about things and is looking forward to getting his head down and working hard. He wants us to be strong and successful this season and he’s going to be a big part of that.
“Grimesy is a clever guy and a good captain and we’re really pleased he’s still here.”
“He’s spoken to the owners and knows where he stands (with contract negotiations).
“We wanted to start negotiations before the window ended and his representatives wanted to wait.
“Grimesy has been really open to discussing that and now the window has shut I’m sure we’ll get straight back on to discussing that with Mark Allen and his representatives. We’ll see where that ends up.”
Martin is correct in pointing out the skipper’s professionalism amid strong interest from elsewhere – and it may just be crucial to their success during the 2021/22 campaign.
This isn’t just because of the fact he will be lining up alongside the likes of Flynn Downes, Korey Smith and others as a top-quality man on the pitch – but also because it doesn’t seem as though he’s created any problems behind the scenes despite clubs monitoring his situation.
After playing a big part in getting the Swans to multiple top-six finishes and leading the side to the play-off final just a few months ago, some people wouldn’t have blamed him for trying to get a move to Watford or Brighton in the top flight having come so close last term.
But his short-term future is now certain, albeit just for a few months until the next transfer window comes along, and Swansea have avoided losing their captain on deadline day. This may have been a complete disaster for morale under a new manager – so to retain him is a major boost.
It will be good news for fans to hear the midfielder is open to entering contract negotiations with the club to extend his stay in Wales – but they will also be fearful of his representatives’ potential influence on striking a new deal. This is Grimes’ future though – and he should be in control of his own destiny.