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Swansea City Captain Matt Grimes is a wanted man - Toon & Saints for starters!
Wednesday, 9th Jun 2021 08:00 by Keith Haynes

If there is one crown jewel the swans have either in the shop window, or ready for next season it is Matt Jacob Grimes. Somehow he found himself in the ultimate frisbee team as a fifteen year old, they won the junior national championship in 2011. He even managed to get the MVP award during that championships. He commands the best from himself in everything he does. Since then his football career has gone from ultimate highs to depressive lows. However Matt Grimes hasn’t stuttered or given up, and this is why today he is a wanted man.

It doesn’t matter what went on before he signed for Swansea City for a reported 1.8 million in January 2015. Having achieved under 21 international caps for his country before he signed, then swans chairman Huw Jenkins made a huge gamble. Not because Swansea City were in the premier league, but because the clubs current status meant he was hardly likely to get a game for his new club. And that fact became true as his formative years progressed. He was battling for recognition against players who were worth millions, and Matt was just a clever punt based on his then credentials.

He was one for the future, and as a result of his self belief in his ability after less than successful loans at Blackburn, then Leeds United many swans fans were not that impressed. His loan spell at Northampton Town was better, but many jacks just felt he had found his level, you can include me there. His 44 games for the cobblers produced 4 goals but that isn’t the whole story, he actually found himself, and discovered his ability properly in the midlands. He became a player who was allowed to flourish, albeit several leagues down, and he came back to Swansea a different player. Supported by his family, and that’s the key, he had grown up.

And he came back from a club where he was head and shoulders above his peers.

Swans fans only really took notice of him in the shambolic FA Cup tie against Manchester City where he scored in a controversial 3-2 loss. Anyone who saw that game will know that if an eyebrow can be raised then it was evident that day. It was at this point Grimes found himself in the minds of his managers, Graeme Potter initially, and then more importantly the tactical and progressive Steve Cooper. Cooper saw quality, and not only that he made him team captain. This at a time when swans fans were looking to others to lead their team on the pitch with far more experience to do the job. What a superb move.

Since then Matt hasn’t looked back, he isn’t a goal machine, but in the eyes of Steve Cooper he is everything a manager wants. His vision for a pass, his ability to break up games and put his team on the front foot has been a real part of his development. After the short close season we witnessed in 2020 he was a no brainer on the team sheet. He may have lacked the captain’s ability to talk to the match officials, and make his thoughts known at first, but that has changed massively in the last season.

Just before last season started it seemed odds on he would join Watford, but Cooper managed to give him the belief that he could lead the swans to Wembley. Well, that happened, but the true story is the swans were short of a real danger man up front. That final step wasn’t evident. Now we learn that Swansea City have had several inquiries from premier league sides wanting to know about his feelings to leave the club that has harnessed and encouraged his self belief. At 25, he is in his developmental prime, the question is ‘Does he see another season under whatever manager that comes in or stays as a positive one ?‘

If Cooper was to leave the Liberty it is certain a number of players would feel insecure and vulnerable. Especially Grimes. Watford are still interested and offer a bigger salary and premier league football. Newcastle United have today become interested in a player who can easily rival ex Swansea City player Jon Jo Shelvey. Jon Jo is nearing 30 years of age and his game, albeit at times can be match winning - is slowing down. He is marmite at the toon. Another club interested in Grimes is Southampton, and the swans with more than an interest in Michael Obafemi could see a player swap plus cash as enticing. If the swans have one player able to bring big money in to the Liberty it is Matt Grimes. Both Newcastle and Southampton would easily match his 8 million valuation, no problem at all.

Away from there Norwich are quick to sell their jewels and recoup their losses with players at a third of the price, their ability in that market is astonishing. For Matt Grimes, if he leaves the swans there is only one way he will go, and that’s up. However, as captain and leader of his club will he dismiss the offers like he has before to lead the swans to the premier league ? Or will he think ‘I’ve done enough, it’s not going to happen, it’s time to cash in’ For us it’s the latter. If Cooper stays it doesn’t mean Grimes will, football doesn’t last forever, and regardless of Swansea City standing by him when he was at a professional low, he has three to four years left at the top of his game.

If you were him, would you gamble that against definite premier league football in a few weeks time ?

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Photographs licensed from Reuters

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