By David Williams
Steve Cooper has revealed he played no role in the talks that ended with Swansea City selling Joe Rodon to Tottenham for just an initial £11m.
The Swansea head coach was reacting after seeing his team – without Rodon for the first time – lose their unbeaten start to the Championship season as they crashed 2-1 at home to Huddersfield.
Cooper said Rodon came to see him on Thursday after returning from Wales duty and told him he would be keen to join Spurs if a deal could be done.
Later that day, the coach held a press conference at which he suggested it was clear what the going rate should be for hugely promising young centre backs moving from the Championship to the Premier League – a clear reference to the £25m pocketed by Norwich City who sold Ben Godfrey to Everton.
Rodon’s deal could rise to £15m with add-ons, but Cooper admitted: “I wasn’t involved in the negotiations.
“I don’t make those decisions on amounts of players coming in or out. I just give my view and that’s what I’ve done.
“In terms of fees, salaries, contracts, things like that, that’s not my remit.
“I didn’t want him to go. Who would want one of their biggest assets to leave?
“Joe left, and I have to tell you, he was excellent in the last few days. He came to see me straight after coming back from Wales to let me know that, of course, he would be interested in a move to Tottenham.
“But he was also very clear to tell me that if it didn’t happen, he would be even more committed than what he already is if he didn’t go. I think it’s important that people know that.
“There was no banging down the door saying ‘I want to leave, this is my opportunity’.
“He was very clear to say how proud he was to play for Swansea and if that continued, then he would be even better than he was before, and credit to him for that, because that’s not always the case.”
The defeat made for a painful couple of days for Cooper, although he managed to bring in centre-backs Ryan Bennett and Joel Latibeaudiere plus utility man Ryan Manning, while Kasey Palmer joined on loan.
Huddersfield rubbed salt into the coach’s wounds by robbing the Swans of their unbeaten record in the league as they won on the road for the first time in three months at the Liberty Stadium.
Josh Koroma clinched a 2-1 victory with his first goal for the club in the 67th minute after the home side cancelled out Harry Toffolo’s opener with an André Ayew penalty.
The performance was good enough to win the game,” said Cooper.
“But we’ve done the obvious thing of conceding two really poor goals. One or two people not quite doing what they should be. And the second goal, from the moment they had the ball to the moment they scored, we’ve not laid a glove on them.
“If you do that, then you run the risk of allowing teams to get up the pitch and into dangerous areas, and it’s everything that I don’t want the team to be out of possession.
£15 Million for Joe Rodon is the biggest robbery in south Wales since Arsenal took Aaron Ramsey for £5 Million
— Welsh Fan Zone TV 🏴 (@WelshFanZoneTV) October 16, 2020
“But at the same time, we’ve missed so many clear cut chances, it’s probably the most clear cut chances we’ve created in a game so far, including the likes of Wycombe where we were fairly comfortable in the game.
“So even though we conceded two, which I’m not happy about, we could have easily scored four or five, and we haven’t. In the end, I think that’s why we haven’t won the game.”
The Terriers won just three times as they were relegated from the Premier League in 2018-19 and almost went down again before finishing 18th last term.
“It has been two tough seasons at Huddersfield and I could feel that in the players. They arrived for pre-season as the team that had lost more games this year than any other in the four divisions,” said manager Carlos Corberan.
“I’m here to change that situation. I want the players to feel proud of what they are doing and the fans to be proud of them.
“I was happy about the mentality of my team from the first minute. We knew it was going to be a tough game because of the quality of Swansea.
Good luck to Joe Rodon, a terrific lad who thoroughly deserves the chance to play at the highest level.
The fee is a totally separate issue and, obviously, nothing to do with him. It’s just further evidence of the incompetence of Swansea’s board and owners.
— Stuart James (@stujames75) October 16, 2020
“We defended too much in the first half, but in the second we broke their press and we were better. We started to play more in their half and the players trusted in themselves and in the work we have done.”