Right-back Connor Roberts was offered the chance to extend his stay at Swansea City prior to his move to Premier League side Burnley, according to Russell Martin who spoke to Wales Online.
The Welshman proved to be a key cog in the Swans’ machine over the past three seasons, making an impressive 129 Championship appearances during that time and helping the club to achieve consecutive play-off place finishes in the last two seasons.
After finishing in the top six in remarkable fashion on the last day of the 2019/20 campaign, their loss to Brentford in the semi-finals was a blow but the real killer came just a few months ago.
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The Swans achieved a more comfortable finish in the play-off places last term, managing to secure fourth and with that, earning themselves the home advantage in the second leg.
They overcame Barnsley at the stage they fell at during 2019/20 and faced a familiar opponent in Brentford for the final.
Although they would have been hoping to utilise their last play-off final victory against Reading in 2011 as a great source of encouragement, the Bees proved to be too strong and settled the tie in the first half, scoring two goals in the first 20 minutes to secure their promotion to the Premier League.
This loss has proved to be costly, with the Welsh international continuing to impress at the European Championships this summer and even getting on the scoresheet in their second group game against Turkey.
And the fact he had less than a year left to go on his current deal made things even trickier for the Swans, who eventually decided to cash in on the right-back for £2.5m with Manchester United loanee Ethan Laird potentially taking his place.
Russell Martin has since spoken out about 25-year-old’s ’emotional’ departure to Wales Online and revealed an offer had been put on the table for him to remain at the Swansea.com Stadium, saying: “We hadn’t had the chance to work with Connor, and I had a good chat with him recently.
“We offered him a new contract. It was something he wanted to wait on and see out the window, and after speaking to him again yesterday, he’s left with a very heavy heart.
“It was a very tough decision for him. He’s said it was an emotional decision but he felt opportunities like that don’t come up all the time, especially after a big injury like he’s had so that was in the back of his mind.
“He leaves with everyone’s best wishes. He’s done brilliantly for the club, he’s a supporter of the club and he’s been consistently one of the best performers here.”
Roberts has been out of action since June after picking up a severe groin injury against Denmark in the European Championships round of 16 tie against Denmark, but will be hoping to overcome that issue and hit the ground running at new side Burnley.
Although seeing the likes of Dan James, Oliver McBurnie, Joe Rodon and others go for huge fees in recent years, many Swansea City fans have been fed up over not seeing much of that money being reinvested back into the playing squad.
The sale of Roberts, considering his hesitation to sign a new deal with under 12 months on his contract, is probably a smart move for the Swans after bringing Ethan Laird in on loan.
But this money and capital generated from other sales needs to be utilised to fund a permanent signing at right-back over the next year or so and after seeing very little spending in Wales in recent seasons, promising manager Martin deserves to be given the funds in January and next summer to make the signings needed in their long-term aim for promotion.
Considering the eight-figure fees they managed to accumulate for the likes of McBurnie and Rodon, they would have more than enough funds to tie down Laird on a permanent deal and bring in more firepower to replace Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe who have both left the club since the end of last season.
Being financially sensible is imperative so they shouldn’t go mad in the next couple of windows, but there’s a difference between being sensible and not investing enough. Sadly, the Swansea City hierarchy are currently leaning towards the latter in many people’s opinion.