Paul Clement appears to have dashed Leeds’ hopes of signing Kyle Bartley in a permanent deal after telling the player he’ll be given the chance to resurrect his career at Swansea.
The 25-year-old defender has returned to the Liberty Stadium following, by his own admission, the best season of his career while on loan at Leeds.
With Bartley and Pontus Jansson in the heart of their defence, the Whites were on course for a play-off place, but a loss of form late in the day saw both Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham pip them to the post.
Leeds boss Garry Monk has already signaled his intent to sign Bartley on a permanent deal, while the player himself appears to want a return to Elland Road.
But Swans boss Clement, who engineered the club’s survival with a game to spare despite being bottom at Christmas, wants to welcome Bartley back into the fold.
Both Bartley and Matt Grimes spent the year with Leeds, but Clement insists the duo will be given a chance to prove their worth.
“When I spoke to Matty Grimes and Kyle Bartley at Leeds, I said ‘you’re Swansea players’ and before I look anywhere else I’m going to look at what we have got from within,” Clement said.
“We want people back pre-season to train and we will go from there.”
Clement and Swansea have expressed an interest in signing Chelsea veteran John Terry to the club on a free transfer, but his message to Bartley is a clear message of intent that the centre-half could yet have a career at the Premier League side.
Bartley’s form at Leeds has also alerted Burnley and Stoke, but Monk, speaking to Yorkshire Evening Post about the 25-year loanee, said: “Kyle’s been tremendous this season. Obviously I’ve got experience with Kyle and I know him very well, but he’d be the first to tell you that this has been by far his best season and by far his best progression as a footballer – the best football he’s ever played.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds, on and off the pitch.
“There’s been improvement from everyone here and that’s a big stepping stone. It was important the club had that.”