The case for Liam Cullen continues - How close is he to a new contract ?
Monday, 30th Oct 2023 09:22 by Keith Haynes
Twenty four year old Liam Cullen is in line for a new Swans contract, that is if his agency can work their magic. A renewal of his contract can be done at any time, he doesn’t have to wait for January or even next summer.
As it stands there is a trigger option of one year in Liam’s contract from June 2024 which Swansea City could implement at any time if they choose to do so. The issue then of course is not dissimilar to that of Jamie Paterson around eighteen months ago. The Swans triggered his option without dialogue causing the player to enter in to a playing dispute with the club. The likelihood of Liam agreeing to a general trigger in his contract is possibly not in his favour before he at least gets to know his financial position at the club. The reason for this is a simple one, his pay as a Swans player falls well below even the most average of salaries at the club. Even if a low ball offer is received from the Swans it will be more than he is currently receiving.
It isn’t a secret that his contract has been reviewed nor that some talks have taken place. As it stands the Swans know his salary demands, and he knows where the negotiation point starts.
Liam is a managers dream, he has little or no background issues, he works hard and is an ever present in training, and his injury record is excellent. He has slowly worked away at his Swansea career rising to a first choice regular this season under Michael Duff. Last season his goals to games record was the best at the club at one stage, even though he didn’t feature all the time under Russell Martin. This time around Liam has played in all fourteen of Swansea City’s games completing two of them in total. ( the full ninety minutes ) Playing out wide he has returned two goals and two assists. Playing wide right has restricted his goal return for sure, but Saturdays winner against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park was a special strike. Working his way inside and across the Riversiders defence he struck a sweet curling shot fitting of winning any football match.
What really saw Liam come to notice was his last twenty three appearances of last season. He bagged eight goals from Christmas 2022 onwards, and clubs such as Sunderland, Blackburn and Birmingham City were linked. Possibly only the Black Cats carrying any real foundation. What has also elevated Liam in to everyone’s thinking is his international call ups this year. And now he can proudly state he is a full Wales international. On that point Liam is very proud. "For me and my family, everyone who's played a part in getting me to this point, it was a proud moment. It was the proudest moment of my life. To have my mum and dad there and a few of my friends was unbelievable for me. But while I'm proud to get that first cap it's just made me want to play even more because I had so much fun out there. I loved every minute of it. So it just makes me want to put that shirt on again. My first call-up was in March, and while I've been itching to play there's been some great players ahead of me”
Liam does come across as a humble person, someone who loves Swansea City and who has been at the club since the age of eight. The Swans will see that as a positive, they know he wants to stay at Swansea, but they also now have to realise his services are going to be welcome elsewhere. They have to strike the balance between a decent contract offer and losing him to another club. The Swans wage bill by all accounts is lower than last season and has been carefully managed overall with a reduction in the clubs outgoings. This has been balanced by player sales and a windfall of around £500,000 for Joel Latibeaudiere joining Coventry City ( under 24 ) and the unplanned departure of Olivier Ntcham (£850,000 is rumoured ) Coupled with Joel Piroe moving to Leeds United for a fee of around eleven million pounds and Ryan Manning leaving the wage bill with numerous others like Morgan Whittaker (£1,000,000 ) the Swans have shopped carefully getting in replacements.
That has seen costs stabilised.
Confirmation of Liam’s pretty rounded personality came post match after his winning goal against Blackburn. “It may not have been as pretty as we would have wanted it to be, we were a little bit scrappy in the second half, but we dug in and three points is three points. A lot of the lads have mentioned how together we are as a group, and I think games like this show it. We get on so well, and have fun together, but we also enjoy working hard together. It’s really rewarding when you get a win like that. It was really important to get a reaction like that. We felt we performed well against Leicester, but we let our standards drop in midweek, and we have responded and got the result.”
We think Liam will be looking to get around ten thousand pounds a week over the three years of any agreed new contract ensuring an income of around one and a half million pounds . However, if he continues to perform at the level he is at clubs will continue to be interested. They will most certainly offer him that amount. And of course he is one of those players managers like Michael Duff are ‘delighted’ to work with, commenting last week. "The fact that he is starting every week shows that we think he is a good player. Last year was a breakout year for him and now it's how you cement that and how he establishes himself in the team. He has loads of things to work on but he has enthusiasm, attitude and work rate. He obviously has quality because you don't get into a Wales team without quality. But the other thing is, he is prepared to work to help us get success and help himself, so hopefully he will represent his country at a tournament."
The odds are well in favour of a new contract for Liam Cullen at the Swans to the extent where he will listen to any improved figure over the next three or even four years. He is now very much in his prime, and has shown a constant improvement throughout his career. He works exceptionally hard and that commitment is being rewarded. Surely the Swans will step up and get this done in the
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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