By David Williams
Swansea City are being linked with Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis after opting to sell Joel Piroe to Leeds United for a basic cut-price fee of £10.5m.
Piroe completed his move to Leeds on Thursday evening, signing a four-year deal with one of the Swans’ Championship rivals.
Former Swans head coach Russell Martin had suggested last season that Piroe was in the £20m to £25m bracket after the 24-year-old Dutchman had scored 20 League goals in both of his two seasons with the club.
But Swansea have a history of under-selling their assets for fear of values diminishing as contracts run down and with Piroe’s deal due to expire next summer, they have taken a low downpayment, although it is being suggested by some at the club the price could rise to £15m if targets are reached.
What the club are less renowned for is any ability to stir the market – to get competing clubs to bid more for players in order to boost the price received.
Piroe had wanted to play in the Premier League – and had rejected the terms on offer to extend his contract – and yet apart from some tentative interest from Leicester City, there appears to have been little interest drummed up from clubs in the top flight.
In that sense, the move to Leeds is a compromise all round – for the Swans, for Piroe himself, and for head coach Michael Duff who had wanted some certainty weeks ago, only to find himself without his proved goalscorer two weeks into the season and with the end of the transfer window only a week away.
Piroe becomes Leeds’ fifth signing of the summer transfer window, following the arrivals of Ethan Ampadu, Sam Bryam, Karl Darlow and former Swan Joe Rodon.
But despite their relegation from the Premier League last season, they have started their campaign in unconvincing fashion, are without a win, and are only fifth favourites to go back up with the bookmakers.
The official Swansea City line on Piroe did not offer supporters much in the way of explanation as to their thinking.
It consisted of just four lines, although that is probably two lines more than some clubs would have offered.
“Swansea City striker Joel Piroe has joined Leeds United for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance,” they said in a statement.
Only three of Joel Piroe’s 46 goals for Swansea were penalties and only one was from a free-kick, so 42 goals from open play. The man was lethal.
— Ian Mitchelmore (@IanMitchelmore) August 24, 2023
“The 24-year-old Dutchman leaves after two successful seasons in SA1, scoring at least 20 goals in each campaign.
“Overall, the former PSV Eindhoven player netted 46 goals in 96 appearances for the Swans, with his most recent strikes coming in the Carabao Cup victory over Northampton Town.
“Everyone at Swansea City thanks Joel for his efforts during his time at the club.”
Now attention falls to finding a replacement with just six days on the current transfer window remaining.
Davis, 25, is valued at around £2m to £3m, having scored only three goals in 22 starts for Villa before a loan move to Watford last season where he hit seven in 27 appearances.
Davies had seemed close to joining Hull City earlier in the week, but the Swans are reported to have made a move as Duff seeks striking options to go alongside Jerry Yates, a £2.5m summer buy from Blackpool.
Duff – whose team travel to Preston on Saturday – insists he is pleased with his club’s start, even though they are yet to claim a first Championship victory after three attempts.
“The important thing from my point of view is to see signs of progress from the things we are doing on the training ground,” said Duff.
“We have talked about being harder to beat, we have talked about being better at set plays. With the ball we can be loads better, but it’s about finding that balance between possession and giving up chances.
“It’s about that balance between the two. It takes time to implement things, you cannot create anything without time.
“It is a results-based industry, but we have only lost one game all season, that is the weirdness of football.
“You just have to keep working, that’s what you need to do.”