Here are your Swansea City headlines for Sunday, May 22.
Christie: Ball is in Swansea’s court
Cyrus Christie has admitted he would love to return to Swansea City permanently and claimed the ball was “in their court” as to whether a deal could be struck.
The right-back, who spent the back half of last season on loan from Fulham, sees his contract end in west London next month and will be looking for a new home. Christie was a consistent performer for Russell Martin during his short loan in SA1, scoring three goals and contributing five assists during his time with the club.
It has led to many Swans fans wanting to see him return next season as Martin looks to build on the foundations he has laid over the last 10 months or so. However, with finances likely to be tight at Swansea this summer, Martin admitted this week there is still a way to go before a deal can get over the line.
READ MORE : Neil Taylor says Joe Allen to Swansea ‘makes sense’
“We are probably a little bit apart in terms of where he has been financially and where we are at,” Martin said this week. “I think the conversation will keep going on and it might change again. But we have to have other options apart from Cyrus as well.”
Now the player himself has said no offer has yet been put forward to him, but that he would “love” to return to the Swansea.com Stadium this summer.
“I’d love to stay [at Swansea]. But you know, I can’t do much until there’s an offer, “he told The Athletic.” The ball’s in their court. Other opportunities are presenting themselves now as well. “I’m not silly enough or naïve enough to just put all my eggs in one basket.”
On his future, he added: “I can reach the Premier League again, I want to get back there. It did not go according to plan last time but you can not be scared of going back there.
“I’m in a good place, physically and mentally doing really well. I feel feel fit, I’d love to be somewhere and get a full pre-season. Now it’s time to kick on. “
It’s clear the player has enjoyed himself at Swansea, too, as he spoke highly of the manager, the club’s style of play and the philosophy being built gradually behind the scenes.
“It’s been a really enjoyable six months, to get out there and play football,” he added. “I feel like I’ve been a main cog in this team. I did not want the season to end.
“[Russell Martin] showed me everything, and went into detail, not many other managers have done that.
“It’s good, because you’re able to influence a lot of the other teams in the way that you play. They’re quite scared because maybe they’ve never seen it before, in how we do it. Some games can be a bit of cat and mouse.
“The way we play, the players just know that there’s so much more to come from each of us.”
Whether Christie is a part of that next season, of course, is a source of much debate at the minute.
There are a number of other clubs reportedly in for him, including promotion chasing Nottingham Forest, Watford and Turkish teams.
Swans in battle for McAtee
Swansea City are in a battle with Huddersfield Town to sign Manchester City youngster James McAtee, according to reports.
The Swans, of course, were heavily linked to the attacking midfielder back in January, however a deal could not be reached to bring him down to south Wales.
A Sun reporter claims McAtee, 19, will be allowed to leave the Etihad Stadium this summer in order to get first-team football under his belt and adds that the Swans and the Terriers are two of the forerunners when it comes to registering an interest in the player.
It is hoped that Swansea’s possession-based style of play will help encourage Pep Guardiola and City’s backroom staff that Wales is the right place for him to progress his game and show his parent club that he can play and flourish in a team which dominates the ball.
Huddersfield are in the play-off final next week and the outcome of that game against Nottingham Forest will likely have a bearing as to whether they remain interested in the young City forward.
McAtee registered 18 goals and seven assists for City’s under-23s in the Premier League 2 and has made six first-team appearances, including two in the Premier League and one in the Champions League.
Martin highlights area Swans must improve
Swans boss Russell Martin has highlighted attacking set-pieces as a key area in which his side must improve if they have their sights set on a higher-placed finish next season.
While the manager is generally pleased with how his team has performed and improved throughout the course of his tenure, he wants them to be more effective from set-plays, just like teams at the top of the table including Fulham and Huddersfield.
“There are key areas we feel we can improve on what we do day in and out, and if we improve those areas then they will make a really big difference to us,” he told the club’s website.
“Set-pieces are a pretty obvious one. You look at Huddersfield, they scored 21 set-piece goals and are in the play-offs. We scored the third highest number of goals from open play, and the most from moves starting with the ball at the goalkeeper’s feet.
“That’s really positive and shows the work we have put in on the training ground is paying off. We were decent enough defending set-pieces, we were in the top 10 in the division for that, but we only scored from two. Fulham had the most set-piece goals even though they were also playing some great stuff, so that clearly shows that is a key area for us.
“We have not got the biggest team and that is something we will look to address, but it’s an area we need more focus on for the players and to do more work.
“There are loads of little bits beyond set-pieces as well, where we will be looking to improve and where we can make a difference.”