Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins has suggested the club let Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente go once it became clear their “focus was elsewhere”.
Without naming either player, Jenkins has outlined the reasons why both of the club’s biggest stars of last season were sold in last month’s transfer window.
Sigurdsson joined Everton for £45m after a protracted negotiation and a refusal by the Icelander to join the team on pre-season tour, whilst Llorente moved to Tottenham on deadline day for £14m.
Writing in Sunday’s match programme for the Swans’ home game against Newcastle, the chairman implies that any player who wants to leave the Liberty Stadium will be allowed to do so, providing the price is right.
That policy is in stark contrast to the stance of clubs like Liverpool and Southampton, who have ignored pleas from players to be allowed to move on, despite big money offers.
Jenkins’ view is that without the funds of bigger-spending clubs, Swansea manager Paul Clement needs to make team unity a priority, even at the risk of lower quality.
Jenkins says: “There’s a fine line when you have to weigh up whether to try to keep your best players during a transfer window or allow them to move on if they make their feelings clear that their focus is elsewhere.
“Obviously the deal has to be right for the selling club first and foremost, but in my view the overriding factor must be motivation levels within the squad.
“When every major football club around the world is working hard and spending millions to try to make small gains that could make the difference between winning and losing, it’s a no-brainer for me to make 100 per cent sure every member of Paul’s squad is focused only on Swansea City.
“For me, team spirit and togetherness have been paramount to our success over the last 10 years.
“And with an ever-increasing financial divide in the Premier League, that togetherness will be vital to help us compete in the years ahead.
“With five new outfield players joining our first-team squad this summer in Roque Mesa, Tammy Abraham, Sam Clucas, Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony, there seems to be a strong, positive feel around our football club.
“So, with a little luck, once everyone settles into the new surroundings and gets used to each other on the field, we can all enjoy a successful season ahead.”