Today’s confirmation of Lukasz Fabianski to West Ham marks the end of a distinguished Swans career and signals the start of a summer exodus that is both inevitable and necessary as a result of relegation.
The veteran Polish goalkeeper, currently representing his country at the World Cup, put in a transfer request immediately after the season ended in a reluctant bid to prolong his career at the highest level. West Ham were immediately linked with a move for Fab and its only been a matter of time for a deal to be struck that suits all parties.
Negotiations have now been concluded and Fabianski will sign for the Hammers in a deal said to be worth £6m plus add ons.
Whilst it was a certainty that Fabianski would leave it’s still sad to see it confirmed. Brought to the club by Garry Monk four years ago the Pole has been an ever present in the Swansea goal – despite what seems like an entire army of goalies being signed by Huw Jenkins since his arrival – and the man has excelled between the sticks despite a sharp decline in quality in front of him.
Fab rightly swept the board in the player of year awards a few weeks ago after a another standout campaign that still ended in relegation despite his heroic efforts. And his tears at the end of the Stoke game, when that relegation was confirmed, showed just how much relegation for Swansea City personally hurt him. But for anyone thinking this was just for show, a cynical act akin to the obligatory badge kissing, then I politely suggest they revisit our games of last term and watch how Fabianski gave everything he could.
The man himself explains what prompted the tears to flow as fans sang a song imploring him to stay in an interview with the official site:
I cried because of the respect the fans showed me.
We had been relegated, and that was hard enough to accept, but instead of being angry and frustrated they showed that they respected me for what I had done for the club.
It was personal respect and I will never forget that.I really would like the fans to know that.
That means everything to me. I may have left the club and I know some fans may feel unhappy with me, but I hope they know I gave everything for the club and worked as hard as I could for four years.
This is a man that cared passionately about the Swans; someone that requested to leave with a heavy heart as he knows that at the age of 33 he has a very limited time left on the big stage.
I for one do not begrudge him this move, and judging by the response of followers on the ATFV Twitter timeline, many fans feel the same way, as you can see from a selection of their tweets below:
It’s worth remembering too that even if no transfer request had been lodged, even if Fabianski declared he was prepared to stay, then the likelihood is that the club would have sold him anyway to not only get him off the wage bill but also to help plug the financial blackhole caused by the drop out of the Premier League.
It’s an uncomfortable truth that we are simply going to have to sacrifice the likes of Fabianski and Alfie Mawson – who might yet end up at the Hammers with his former teammate – so that we can generate money out of our most bankable assets, only some of which will find its way to new boss Graham Potter to bring in replacements.
One of the Best
Fabianski has proved without question over the last couple of years that he is in the top four or five goalkeepers in the country, regularly featuring in the top bracket in just about every relevant stat category there is.
As one of those tweets featured above points out, Fab came to the club with a reputation for being a bit “flappy” but he proved that this was an unfair label. It has to be remembered that for much of his time at Arsenal he was second choice and so it was often difficult for him to get the run of games a goalkeeper needs to perform at their best levels.
Regular football at the Swans showed that Fabianski is a consistent performer that marries spectacular shot stopping with sound positional awareness and a commanding presence at set pieces. If there’s a question mark against him then it would be in his distribution with his feet…but for me this is the least of the skills required from your goalkeeper and so it’s a minor flaw in my eyes.
Unquestionably West Ham have got themselves a bargain, securing a top quality keeper for less than £10m. If it wasn’t for Fab’s advancing years, a contract with only a year left, and a relegation fuelled transfer request then the Hammers would have been required to pay double for his services. At least.
As it is we probably couldn’t expect to get more for Fabianski and I’m glad the deal has now been done. We just can’t afford to have these outgoing transfers drag on over the summer, not with a shortened transfer window and a huge amount of work to do bringing in new players ready to hit the ground running when the Championship kicks off in seven weeks time.
More to Come…or Go!
Fabianski to West Ham is the first cash departure from the Swans ranks but it certainly won’t be the last as the exodus begins. A deal for Jordan Ayew to join Fulham edges closer and his brother’s agent will no doubt engineer the expected escape from a club his client has no real affection for in the coming days.
Mawson’s exit has been complicated by minor knee surgery, but with a £20m plus valuation on his head I fully expect Huw Jenkins to push the kid out of the door as soon as he’s fit.
Hopefully the club will also be able to engineer a move to Turkey or somewhere equally gullible for Wilfried Bony who is just too much of an expensive luxury and liability to remain on the books.
Whoever else goes though, we won’t miss them anywhere near as much as we’ll miss Lukasz Fabianski who is arguably the greatest goalkeeper ever to pull on a green (or multi-coloured these days) Swansea City jersey.
Good luck Fab!
Are you mad at Fab for leaving? Or do you wish Lukasz luck in his new career as a Hammer? Did we get a fair price or have we sold ourselves short again? Why not sound off in the comments section below?