Friday 15 December 2017

Swansea look to Rodgers ahead of £140m takeover American takeover

Swansea City 1 Chelsea 0

Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates with Jack Cork at the end of the game. Photo: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters
Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates with Jack Cork at the end of the game. Photo: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters
Swansea's Angel Rangel tackles Chelsea's Alexandre Pato. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
Swansea City's Alberto Paloschi and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic battle for the ball. Photo: PA Wire.

John Percy

Swansea City will make a renewed attempt to lure back Brendan Rodgers as the club edge towards an American takeover worth a potential £140m.

The 43-year-old Ulsterman, who has been out of work since parting company with Liverpool last October, will consider a move back to South Wales, four years after leaving the club.

He has also been linked strongly with the manager's position at soon-to-be-relegated Aston Villa, but the chance of managing in the Premier League again at a club poised for major new investment would appear to hold greater appeal than taking on the task of turning around Villa, who will face a mammoth task in clawing their way out of the Championship and back into the top flight.

Francesco Guidolin, the current Swansea head coach, is almost certain to depart at the end of the season and Rodgers is the preferred choice to replace him.

Rodgers enhanced his reputation as a manager during his first spell at Swansea.

When he joined them from Reading, they were still in the Championship and he guided them to promotion at the first time of asking, securing their place in the Premier League with victory over his previous club in the play-off final at Wembley.

Despite being touted as relegation candidates, Swansea maintained their momentum - so much so that Liverpool lured Rodgers to Anfield in the summer of June 2012.

The Swansea takeover, involving businessmen Jason Levien and Stephen Kaplan, could be concluded this week, with any deal ensuring chairman Huw Jenkins remains on the board.

The takeover is worth an initial £110m, with the promise of a further £30m going toward new signings and the stadium infrastructure, following eight weeks of intense negotiations.

Levien and Kaplan both have an extensive background in sport, with Levien the Managing General Owner at Major League Soccer outfit DC United and Kaplan a shareholder in NBA franchise Memphis Grizzlies.

They are not the first Americans to run the rule over Swansea. In October 2014 there was speculation about a takeover involving John Jay Moores, the 71-year-old Texan who owned the San Diego Padres for 18 years before selling his stake for £500m.

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink warned his "sloppy" players to raise their game after the club's 15-game unbeaten Premier League was brought to an unceremonious halt by Swansea.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's first-half goal condemned the visitors to their first league defeat since Hiddink succeeded Jose Mourinho last December.

The Iceland international struck after Jefferson Montero had bamboozled the Chelsea defence, having taken maximum advantage of a weak headed clearance by centre-back Matt Miazga who was unable to fill the void left by injured duo Gary Cahill and John Terry.


Montero should have doubled the lead late on, while Alexandre Pato missed two sitters on his first start for Chelsea.

Defeat ensured a disappointing end to a week that began with confirmation that Italy manager Antonio Conte would take over the reins at Chelsea this summer.

"I don't think Conte's appointment affected players because what we did in the second half was good so I don't think they had it in mind to look to next season," Hiddink said.

"But it is not just about a new manager, you have to show at a club like this what you are capable of. The players have to be internally motivated - that is a key condition to being at a club like Chelsea."

Hiddink added: "We expected a tough game. They needed three points and we were safe. We created some early chances but we were sloppy. If you do not take those chances you get into trouble."

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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