Rodon Robbery Takes the Shine Off Smashing Window

Many Swans fans are seething after Spurs conducted the steal of the century to spirit away star centre half Joe Rodon for a measly £11m up front. However, Rodon’s cut price departure shouldn’t spoil what has been a smashing transfer window overall, even if it does take the shine off.

Birch the Burglar

It’s really no surprise that Rodon left for what is a pittance compared to his potential. The odds were stacked against us holding out for a higher end price even before you factor in Tottenham as the destination.

Before Trevor Birch arrived as Swans Chairman we were not very good at rebuffing low ball offers for our best players and his departure always threatened a return to that bad habit. The fact that we found ourselves on the other end of Birch’s transfer prowess as his new club Spurs aggressively pursued Rodon was always going to put us firmly on the back foot.

Birch has masterminded the ultimate smash and grab; like a master thief he’s inhabited our house, casing the joint from the Liberty Stadium corridors of power, and then he’s come skulking back – not quite in the dead of night, for it was a 5pm deadline after all – and stolen away our prized asset for a fee he knows our finances wouldn’t permit refusal.

All things being equal, we could, perhaps SHOULD have sent Spurs packing and told them to come back with a starting bid of £15m in January. However the sad truth is that doing so would have been a massive gamble in two fundamental ways:-

  • Rodon’s luck with injuries has already scuppered the opportunity to cash in during two previous transfer windows and with finances as they are in this Covid-19 era the possibility of Joe picking up another injury before January would be hugely risky
  • Without the money that Rodon’s departure guaranteed on deadline day there would have been no way four players made the opposite journey into the Liberty Stadium dressing room, leaving Steve Cooper short of numbers for the punishing period to come
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It has to be acknowledged that there were more pluses than minuses for the Swans on deadline day, for a change! Yes, we lost Joe Rodon for a fee that feels like a slap in the face, and we lost out to Cardiff in the race to sign Harry Wilson because they were dull enough to cough up the huge costs associated with that loan deal and we weren’t. Better hope that Harry doesn’t get crocked, eh Vinny? Ad no, I’m not wishing a season ender on the lad, I’m just pointing out the very real gamble of stumping up a million quid for a season long loan that could quite easily be over in the very next game!

Let’s instead focus on the good work that Andy Scott and his recruitment team have done. And I include Cooper in that.

Deadline day saw a continuation of the strong recruitment earlier in the summer that brought Woodman and Guehi back, and added attacking talent in Viktor Gyokeres, Jamal Lowe and the stand out Morgan Gibbs-White.

Rodon’s departure has been fully compensated for with the arrival of Ryan Bennett, a hugely experienced and very solid centre half, and the precocious talent of Joel Latibeaudiere. Capturing those two on free transfers is very astute business rather than “doing things on the cheap”.

Ryan Manning is the left back reinforcement we’ve been crying out for and will provide a challenge for Jake Bidwell – even this souped up version of Bidwell that’s simply tearing things up so far this season! 

And Kasey Palmer might well be seen as a ‘sloppy seconds” after missing out on Wilson but he’s clearly a player that Cooper has wanted for some time. On the evidence of his Bristol City career he does seem to be another of those players, like the dearly departed Celina or the unmissed McKay, that can be unplayable on their day but their day just doesn’t come around often enough. Hopefully this loan at the Liberty will see Palmer add some consistency to his game and if he does, he’ll be a very useful asset this term.

 

if you weren't upset enough by Joe's departure, here's his Dear John good-bye note on Instagram!

Another thing that shouldn’t be downplayed is the fact that Andre Ayew is still a Swan.  

The Ghanaian is yet to hit the heights yet this season but he remains a talismanic figure to Cooper’s young squad, as well as one of the best players in the Championship. His skill, work rate and goal output are all vital to us and his work defending set pieces should never be underestimated either.

I’m not sure how true rumoured interest from West Brom and Brighton was but the retention of Ayew, a player who carried us on his back for large parts of last season, is a massive bonus. And let’s be honest, Rodon’s sale means the large pay packet that Ayew comes with won’t drain us drier than a nun’s knickers in the short term.

No doubt there will be fans reading this that will dismiss it and continue to rant and rage about the giveaway fee for Rodon – as is their right and I sympathise with what they say.

Not only was Joe “one of us” having come up through the ranks from the age 7, he has always looked a cut above from his introduction to the senior side and even more so since he stepped effortlessly onto the international stage. Spurs have got an absolute bargain, and one that the miserable Mourinho doesn’t deserve, but it’s not just our general weakness at holding out for fair fees that’s to blame, the football fates have conspired against us too.

If injuries hadn’t handicapped him Joe would have had twice as many games under his belt by now.

If the Swans hadn’t been so badly run in the past we might have had more financial breathing space to turn down Spurs’ derisory offer.

If other clubs had seriously come in then a bidding war would have pushed up the price.

If Covid hadn’t struck then Euro 2020 would have displayed Joe’s star quality on a worldwide stage and his price would have soared.

Lot’s of ifs, and life isn’t fair; Julian Winter has come in for criticism along with our comedy hour owners, but in the end a judgement has been made to take what cash was on offer and use it to keep the club in business AND add some players to the squad.

We are all gutted that Joe Rodon has gone, and mad as Hell over the low fee, but what really matters more than anything at the end of a transfer window is the answer to this question: is your squad stronger at the closure of the window than it was at the opening?

And in Swansea City’s case the answer is a resounding YES!