It was the second saga of the summer and one that didn’t end up as people were expecting and we wake this morning to the confirmation that Matt Grimes is still a Swansea City player.
Right from the off this summer everyone expected Grimes to leave. The fans did, the media did and it was even written into the club’s budgets for the period ahead that he would be gone. It was part of the plan that would help us balance the books and it was expected that there would be plenty of interest.
Southampton were linked, Newcastle were then there was Bournemouth and Fulham and that wasn’t an exclusive list as the speculation intensified. It seemed a matter of when rather than if Grimes would be gone. As Flynn Downes signed everyone said the replacement was already here (it was also suggested on the signing of Liam Walsh) but Grimes stayed on and bids were not forthcoming for our captain.
Russell Martin arrived and things seemed to change. The manager was clear pretty much from Day 1. He wanted Grimes to stay and he made no secret of it. Publicly he was almost forcing the club’s hand with his statements. He wanted – almost needed – Grimes to be part of his plans and the media were all too happy to dance to his tune. Almost every interview seemed to see Martin being asked on the future of Grimes and the response was consistent – he was a great player, someone Martin admired and someone he wanted to keep at Swansea beyond the closure of the window.
Fulham came knocking in the latter stages of the window but Martin had already chipped away at his captain. The player likes Swansea, those close to him like Swansea and he wasn’t desperate to leave. He told those close to him he wanted to stay and it was really then just down to Russell Martin to get the board to agree that they could keep hold of the player even if it meant taking a risk he may leave for nothing at the end of his contract.
And it appears that it was a game of persuasion that he won. A couple of late bids from Fulham were rejected and Grimes stayed. To the manager that will feel as good as any of the signings that he made on deadline day, maybe even better as it shows a commitment from the club towards the work that he wants to undertake here at Swansea. And that has to feel good as someone who has been here for such a short period of time.
Time will now tell as to what we do in the background with regards the captain. As much as we have backed the manager, those in the corridors of power, will want a new deal for him to protect their asset and, no doubt, Martin will want the same. But for now, the manager will know that he has achieved what many thought he would not manage and Matt Grimes remains a Swansea City player and the Swansea City captain.