Swansea City

Downes to Palace allows Swans to get something they want and need


Swansea City were always likely to have to sell one of their prized assets this summer. It was just a case of who it would be.

It appears midfielder Flynn Downes will be the one sold to balance the books in an all-too-familiar tale in these parts. WalesOnline reported earlier this week Southampton, Wolves and Crystal Palace were interested in the 23-year-old, and things have moved at pace. The latter are believed to be closing in on their man, with reports on Saturday evening ramping up the deal.

If a transfer is concluded it will be a difficult pill to swallow for supporters, who witnessed Downes flourish in his debut season in SA1. Although there may be feelings of frustration, his impending departure won't come as a surprise to many.

READ MORE: Crystal Palace to agree deal for Swansea City midfielder Flynn Downes as Joe Allen signing edges closer

There is no real anger these days, more an acceptance these deals must be made as Swansea continue to navigate an extremely difficult financial course, one made even harder against the backdrop of Covid-19 and parachute payments now being a thing of the past.

Swansea have seen players such as Daniel James, Oli McBurnie, Joe Rodon and Connor Roberts sold in recent years and there is a certain numbness around asset sales now as they become not just necessary but vital for the survival of the club.

Downes and striker Joel Piroe have been Swansea's standout performers over the past 12 months or so since they arrived in south Wales. It quickly became apparent they possessed quality in abundance but their talent didn't go unnoticed by clubs further up the food chain.

Leeds United were the early frontrunners for Downes, while Leicester City were mentioned as admirers of the Dutchman, with Watford the latest to throw their hat in the ring for the forward.

Head coach Russell Martin was desperate to land Downes having worked with him at MK Dons. If ever there was a Martin-type player, it is the former Ipswich Town man. There was delight when he landed the midfielder and there will be equal levels of emotion should Martin lose him to Palace this summer, mainly because he is exactly the individual who makes Martin's Swansea tick.

The head coach's work in the transfer market over the years should allay frustrations to a certain degree; you know full well Martin will have his ducks lined up in a row and all scenarios will be catered for, should any of his players leave for pastures new.

And it just so happens they already have the perfect player lined up to replace Downes. Former Swans man Joe Allen is a free agent after turning down the chance to re-sign with Stoke City. At 32 he's no spring chicken but his exploits with Wales over the past month or so showed he can still cut the mustard at the highest level.

Martin has already told us he's a big fan of the Pembrokeshire man. “Brilliant player, brilliant character. I watched him for Wales recently," the head coach said on the last day of the season. "He was excellent, the way he spoke to other players as well.

“He loves this club, I love him as a player. I will say it. I would love to [sign him]. We’ll have to wait and see. It will depend on a lot of things. We have a lot of midfielders at the club. We have some midfielders that haven’t played very much.

“People are going to have to leave for people to come in. But Joe is someone who would fit here perfectly. He knows the club, the club knows him. I am sure he has got plenty of offers and I am sure at some point we will sit down and have a chat about him."

Swansea are now confident of getting Allen over the line as the Downes deal accelerates.

His move away from the club, hower painful it is, is set to give Swansea something they want and something need need; it will pave the way for Allen to make a romanticised return to south Wales and should, in theory at least, allow them to keep hold of Piroe for the time being, barring an almighty offer for the former PSV man.

It will obviously be dependent on the fee they can secure for Downes but with three years left on his Swansea deal, it should be a tidy sum. Replacing a 24-goal-a-season striker of Piroe's ilk would be nigh-on impossible for a team with such economic limitations as Swansea but in Allen Martin has someone who can fill Downes' role very effectively, in the short term at least.

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