By David Williams
Russell Martin will be first in the queue at the January sales – searching for wingbacks to replace Ryan Manning and Joel Latibeaudiere.
The Swansea City head coach is gearing up for transfer activity after both players rejected the latest offers of new contracts and appear destined to leave the club.
At a time when Martin had hoped to add more fire-power to his front line to push for a play-off place, the decisions by Manning, 26, and the 22-year-old former Manchester City starlet Latibeaudiere, have forced Martin to alter his thinking.
The Swans have not won since they beat Cardiff City 2-0 in the Welsh derby on 23 October, picking up a mere five points out of a possible 21 despite only losing twice in seven games.
“It’s disappointing,” said Martin of the decision made by Republic of Ireland international Manning.
“Ryan’s agent is saying it’s unlikely he is going to sign the current deal he’s been offered and I’m not convinced the club can go any further.
“We’ve got three games and then the window will open, so there will be another discussion about how we deal with the situation. In the meantime, I’ve got no worries about Ryan – he is going to give everything.
“He was excellent in the last half hour at Coventry last weekend and made two huge goal contributions. We have a good relationship with him and we know how he feels about his team-mates.”
Latibeaudiere, who captained the side early in the season when Matt Grimes was injured, is another player unhappy with his new offer. He is thinking things over about his future.
“We’ve probably made our last offer to Joel. He wants to take his time, although unlike Ryan he is still weighing up his options. We’ll have a bit more clarity after Christmas and we’ll go from there.”
The Swans face a trio of games in the space of six days in the Christmas and New Year period.
They visit Reading on Tuesday, December 27 before hosting Watford at the Swansea.com Stadium three days later.
They then commence 2023 when they entertain league leaders Burnley on January 2.
Martin believes Burnley’s summer transfer interest in Michael Obafemi has hampered the striker this season.
Obafemi has struggled to hit the heights he showed in the second half of last season and Martin says the frontman has fallen well short of the levels expected of him.
The Republic of Ireland international has scored just three goals in 19 appearances and hasn’t featured since picking up an injury while on international duty in November.
“Michael hasn’t done well enough,” said Martin.
“He had a great end to last season. He’s not given us anywhere near enough this season, he knows my thoughts on that. I think we’ll have to wait and see (on potential January interest).
“The August thing (Burnley’s transfer interest) rocked him, for sure. Some players can cope better with that than others. It’s very similar to last season’s pattern really which is really frustrating for us.
“You take a step forward and then two steps back. He knows my thoughts on it. We’ve had really honest chats.
“We got really praised with the way we dealt with him last season. It was about getting him to a point where he could trust himself, we could trust him to do a certain role in the team and we haven’t quite seen that this season. Everyone expected him to pick up where he left off last year, but football is not linear.
“He’s a young man living a long way from home with different things to deal with. Young men don’t always get it right. We really love Mike as a character, a person, but all we can ask for from any of the lads is 100 per cent, all in, a willingness to run for the team, and we’ve only seen that in glimpses.”