Swansea City fans have been told to adopt the brace position – they are about to get hit by the Birch.
New Swans chairman Trevor Birch has warned that tough times lay ahead for a club already reeling from the departure of manager Graham Potter to Brighton.
In language that includes some of the most terrifying of modern-day business jargon, supporters have been told that the current squad – already pruned back to the roots with 16 players discarded in the past year – has to be further “rebalanced”.
The news will be grim reading for the club’s followers who are already resigned to losing rising star Daniel James to Premier League predators this summer.
Potter saw 16 players go out of the club in two transfer windows in his 11 month period at the club, and a further four more senior players get released last week.
But Birch has told fans to expect more change as the club’s precarious financial position remains the top priority.
Top scorer Oli McBurnie, midfielder Matt Grimes, defenders Mike van der Hoorn and Joe Rodon and Welsh star Connor Roberts are all being chased by top clubs and many fans fear the loss of Potter and potentially James could trigger a mass exodus.
“We all know the club has considerable financial issues to deal with as a result of relegation from the Premier League. We have to re-balance our squad to cope with life in the Championship,” said Birch.
“There will be player movements both in and out – that’s the harsh facts of football life. However, there will not be a fire sale of players.
“We recognise we have to balance achieving the right sale prices with maintaining a competitive squad. The players who were out of contract and have recently left the club helps ease the financial situation.
“But there are still players on the payroll which the club simply cannot afford and that is something we want to address as quickly as possible this transfer window.”
The Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre, are in that bracket and are expected to be sold on this summer, along with two more loan players who have returned at the end of the season, Jefferson Montero and Tom Carroll.
But Birch has responded positively to an approach from Wayne Routledge, who was released on a free transfer this month after playing more than 250 games for the club. He could well re-sign for the new season at a reduced rate.
“I met with Wayne this week and had a very good conversation with him about re-signing for the forthcoming season,” explained Birch.
Swansea City legends Leon Britton and Alan Curtis have also been pressed back into service at the club as part of a new recruitment team put together by Birch in the wake of Potter’s departure.
“I will be looking to hire a new Head of Recruitment and build a robust scouting structure, which we don’t have at present,” added Birch.
“I’m also going to appoint Leon Britton as Football Advisor to the board of directors. Together with Alan Curtis, our new Club President, he will also be part of a recruitment board that will assist me in the interviewing and selection of the new manager.
“I didn’t anticipate having to search for a new manager this summer, but it just reinforces how unpredictable football can be. I’ve already had a significant number of applications from around the world.
“One key criteria in identifying the new manager will be that he can work with our young players and help them to improve. That is crucial.”