By Paul Jones
Michael Duff has tipped Nathan Wood for a future with England after Swansea City fought off fierce transfer interest from Southampton for the defender.
Wood joined the Swans from Middlesbrough for £400,000 in the summer of 2022 and impressed throughout last season under Russell Martin – who was keen to take the 21-year-old from Wales to St Mary’s Stadium.
But the Saints had a pair of bids rejected by Swansea in August – the highest of which was worth around £10m once add-ons were included.
Southampton then switched their focus to Taylor Harwood-Bellis, who has now joined on loan from Man City. And having kept hold of Wood, Duff believes the centre back who has been caped at every age level from U15-21, will one day star for the Three Lions in the future.
“I think he’s a very good player and he’s a potential future England international. I wouldn’t want to sell him for anything because you want to work with the best players,” said Duff.
Swansea City head coach Michael Duff on the second rejected Southampton bid for defender Nathan Wood pic.twitter.com/4C0SsZzKy5
— Simon Davies (@simondavies45) August 26, 2023
Prior to deadline day, Southampton head coach Martin confirmed he still speaks regularly with Wood.
“He’s someone who I’ve stayed in touch with, as I have done with a few of their players,” said Martin.
“It’s not because I’m trying to sign them, it’s because they are brilliant human beings and the relationship we have will continue whether he ends up here or he doesn’t.
“He’s a really good player. There are a lot of really good players who we are looking at and there are players in each position who we are looking at.”
And Duff said he agrees with Martin’s assessment of the defender’s traits both on and off the pitch.
“I’d probably agree with him, he’s a good kid. I don’t think he’s telling us anything we don’t already know,” added Duff.
— Tom Coleman (@tomEcoleman) August 31, 2023
Wood has started all four of Swansea’s Championship matches so far this season and bagged his first goal for the club in a 3-2 defeat at West Brom last month.
Swansea host Bristol City in the Championship on Saturday as they seek their first league win under new boss Duff.
But the club did suffer a local derby defeat when Cardiff City beat them to the loan signing of Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo.
The 22-year-old centre back could go straight into Erol Bulut’s team at Ipswich on Saturday as the ninth summer signing for the Bluebirds.
“I’m buzzing to be here and for it to finally get across the line. I can’t wait to get started,” said the former England U21 cap.
“I picked Cardiff City because of the gaffer, the team and I felt like it was an exciting project for sure. I want to show the fans what I can do and help the boys shine.”
Panzo is no stranger to the rigors of the Championship having played 29 times for Coventry City last season, helping them to reach the play-off final in the process.
Bulut had let go another central defender, Jack Simpson, the previous today and was determined to find another the final piece to go into his defensive jig-saw.
“I’m pleased that Jonathan has agreed to join us as he’s going to bring extra stability to our defence. He had a very good season with Coventry City and already has great experience of this league,” said Bulut.
Panzo joined Chelsea’s academy at the age of nine before signing for Monaco in July 2018.
After a loan spell in Belgium with Cercle Brugge, he signed for Dijon, where he played alongside former Cardiff centre-back Bruno Manga.
He joined Nottingham Forest 18 months ago but made just one appearance under Steve Cooper before joining Coventry on loan last term.
Cardiff City have announced the loan signing of Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo ⚽️
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) September 1, 2023