When Harry met Swansea: Russell Martin gets his man !
Sunday, 19th Jun 2022 08:00 by Keith Haynes & @Cornish67David
There seemed to be only one destination Harry Darling wanted to go to ever since his manager Russell Martin left MK Dons for Swansea City last season. And that became reality for Harry when the persistence of the swans and his insistence there was nowhere else he wanted to go came true yesterday evening.
The pace of the signing took many by surprise, even the old stagers within the press were caught out as Toby Lock the sports editor at the MK citizen newspaper was given the honours of announcing Darlings departure. It wasn’t that much of a surprise, bar maybe the timing, we talked about Harry Darling on this site as far back as December 4th last year.
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Darlings joins Andy Fisher, another signing from MK Dons, a goalkeeper who is in much need of a pre season and confidence building if he is to retain his number one jersey next time around. Even MK Dons seemed resigned to losing their prized asset. Sporting Director Liam Sweeting told mkdons.com: “Harry has made a terrific contribution since arriving from Cambridge United and it was unsurprising that he attracted attention from a higher level. Given he was entering the final year of his contract, we anticipated serious interest this window. Swansea City was the destination that Harry wanted and eventually they met our valuation for the player, with a deal that protects us in the short and longer term. On behalf of the Chairman, Liam and everyone at the Club, I would like to thank Harry for his contribution with us since arriving at Stadium MK and wish him all the best in the future." Sweeting added: "This is another example of our trading model and our focus remains on recruiting a squad of players that is capable of achieving our aims for the 2022/23 season and beyond.”
Harry Darling : MK Dons trading model again comes to fruition
Sweeting’s reference to the shorter and longer term explain the instalment process that the swans and MK Dons have agreed, and of course the usual sell on clauses we see in nearly every move these days. Appearance fee’s are also believed to be within the transfer agreement. A mute point with Ryan Bennett being asked to find a new club after forty nine swans appearances.
Darling is now twenty two and is considered one of the real gems in the lower tiers of the English football league. Many years ago he would have been picked up by one of the top clubs of the day, Liverpool or Manchester United, clubs in the seventies who unearthed masses of talent from the lower leagues.These days those type of signings just don’t happen, And when they do success will rarely follow.
Darling was loaned out to the likes of East Thurrock and Royston Town as a part of his development when he signed professional terms with his boyhood club Cambridge United. After fifty five appearances and two goals the defender was transferred to MK Dons in a deal believed to be around £125,000. After only sixty four appearances and seven goals he is now firmly in the Swansea City camp. An extraordinary piece of business that once again Russell Martin has been able to influence due to his and the players knowledge of each other.
The new swans signing can now travel to this weeks training camp in Surrey later today, am environment that’s proved fortuitous for the swans in recent seasons. And of course safein the knowledge his three year deal will almost certainly elevate him even higher in the minds of the many who watch Swansea business activity very carefully. Once again Darling signing, an athletic and mobile centre half, just like Flynn Downes the swans have gone searching for athleticism and pace. Speaking yesterday Darling said of Russell Martin’s football vision, “I personally think it’s the best way to play and that’s why I’m here,” said Darling. “Russell was a massive part of it. I was with him at my last club and we’ve stayed in contact. I love working with him and it’s such a big club. I’ve heard really good things about it so those were the two reasons I want to come here. I know the way the manager plays so it was just a case of getting the deal over the line - I just can’t wait to get started. The style is different, but when it gets going it’s such an exciting way of playing and it can really dominate teams. Although I’m a ball playing centre-back, my first job is to keep clean sheets, defend well and do that for the team. If I can do that bit first, then goals are just added extras.”
Swansea City fans will see a dominant player who gets forward and scores goals, last season running nigh on the length of the pitch Darling scored an exquisite goal against Morecambe.
For anyone in any doubt of the players ability or pace then that clip alone should answer a few questions. Russell Martin is slowly getting in the players he wants, and with Darling being the second first team squad defender in ten days to join the club it seems things are warming up this summer. This signing may well indicate some player movement out, Darling has cost over a million pounds, albeit in stages but the club have saved a fair bit of money from players leaving already since the season ended. We understand Martin still has his sights on three more quality additions to the first team squad before the season commences. Many will be hoping they too have the pace and flexibility to play the Russell Martin way.
It’s amazing how one signing can brighten up the summer and there’s still six weeks to go until the new season kicks off.
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Photographs licensed from Reuters
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