Kyle Bartley’s Success Highlights Problems At Swansea City


It must be extremely frustrating for new Swansea City boss Paul Clement that his most consistent defensive performer this season is a player currently out on loan at Leeds United.

Kyle Bartley has enjoyed his time at Elland Road and along with Pontus Jansson he’s formed one of the Championship’s strongest defensive partnerships.

Kyle is a tall, strong, commanding central defender who can also cover the ground well.

All attributes that Swansea have missed at various parts of the season this term. No Premier League team has conceded more than the Swans this season and they’ve conceded twenty-one goals in six league games in December.

I remember Bartley from his time at Rangers, the defender was raw but certainly had ability. I almost bumped into him at a casino, I’m glad I didn’t as he was huge and would have taken me out.

At Rangers, Kyle learned a lot from playing beside the likes of David Weir and Madjid Bougherra. You could see that the young defender grew in confidence as each game went by.

Unfortunately at Swansea, Bartley has never had a good run of games to establish himself as a Premier League starter.

During his stay in Wales, he’s never managed to play ten or more league games. In 2014-15 he managed seven Premier League appearances and that’s been his best run at the club.

So I don’t blame Swansea for loaning Kyle Bartley out in the summer, he had obviously not impressed then Swans manager Francesco Guidolin.

The Welsh side sold club captain Ashley Williams in August and the defence has looked weak all season.

Federico Fernández has made plenty of mistakes this term. Spaniard Jordi Amat struggles to deal with crosses that head his way and Alfie Mawson is still learning his craft in tough circumstances.

Former Swansea City boss Garry Monk obviously liked what he saw in Kyle and brought him to Elland Road in the summer and is full of praise:

“He is an exceptional centre-back, but the form he’s in right now is the best I have seen from him. In fact, I don’t think he has ever played better.”

“There’s no limit to what Kyle can achieve. He can be as good as he wants to be and go as far as he wants to go.

“His attitude and mentality can’t be faulted – that’s why I made him my captain.”

That’s a ringing endorsement for the big defender and it says a lot that Leeds are doing well in the Championship, sitting in a play-off spot.

Now here’s my problem with the Kyle Bartley situation.

Swansea should have had a recall clause inserted into the loan deal. Six months on and the Swans are struggling and their defence has been pretty poor all term. They are now onto their third manager of the season and he can’t select their best performing central defender because they didn’t insert a simple clause.

Now maybe Swansea will say that the loan deal involved a fee and that Leeds did’t want the clause. But Swansea should have been the ones leading those negotiations and should make sure that they are the ones that are protected the most! Kyle Bartley is their player after all.

Seems slightly ironic that the Swans would hire club legend Alan Curtis as the sides new loan manager to watch and evaluate those Swansea players doing well elsewhere but can’t bring back.

I’m happy that Kyle is getting a run of games and proving himself again. I just feel Swansea have made a mistake in how they’ve done the deal and that could really haunt them in May!

2 Responses to “Kyle Bartley’s Success Highlights Problems At Swansea City”

  1. Nearly all fee paying loans have the recall removed otherwise clubs could send vast amounts of players on loan and recall them all and keep the change.

    As a Leeds supporter I can tell you that Kyle has been exceptional this season and I do feel sorry for Swansea. The biggest blow for you guys was not replacing Ashley Williams as he was your heartbeat at the back and proved it in the summer for Wales.

    Hope you guys get sorted and don’t worry there is time.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    I’m not a Swansea fan, more of a Bartley fan.

    In terms of the loan fee. I’d have suggested that they insert a recall clause that can only be activated in January and that would see Leeds get at least half of the fee back.

    The good news in all this is that he’s playing well, Leeds are doing well and he is getting plenty of game time.

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