Friday 23 February 2018

Sigurdsson made intentions clear at the end of last season - Swans boss Clement

Paul Clement, pictured, says targets are in place to replace Gylfi Sigurdsson
Paul Clement, pictured, says targets are in place to replace Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson told Swansea he wanted to leave the club at the end of last season, head coach Paul Clement has revealed.

Sigurdsson finally completed his protracted transfer to Everton on Wednesday for a club-record fee understood to be around the £45million mark.

And, as Swansea seek to spend the Sigurdsson cash with two or three replacements in mind, Clement said the Icelandic playmaker made his feelings known to him about a summer exit after the final game of the 2016-17 season on May 21.

Sigurdsson had earlier told reporters at the club's end-of-season awards on May 17 that he "was not trying to leave" and it was "down to the club if they want to sell me".

"I made it clear to Gylfi at the end of last season and conversations I had via texts with him over the summer that I would like him to stay," Clement said.

"His view was that he would like the opportunity to potentially embark on another challenge.

"I was aware of that from the end of last season. The conversations were open and frank, but you still hope there might be a change of mind.

"It might have been: 'The fans want you here, the owners want you here, I want you here' and the answer could have been 'Okay, I'll stay.' But that wasn't the case."

Sigurdsson returned to Swansea for pre-season training and made his final appearance for the club in a friendly at Barnet on July 12.

The following day Swansea were leaving for a tour of the United States, but Sigurdsson - who had worn the captain's armband when he came on for the second half at Barnet - told Clement at breakfast that he would not be travelling to America with Everton keen to sign him.

"I said to Gylfi my opinion was that he should still come to America," Clement said.

"It could have potentially fallen through. He was confident it wouldn't and he decided to stay.

"We know what happened then, it didn't go through. It has now.

"It has gone on longer than we would have liked, but sometimes these deals are complicated."

Asked if he was surprised that Sigurdsson chose to pull out of the American tour, Clement replied: "I was. We were in London on our way and I believed he was coming.

"I don't know why he came up with that.

"Clearly he was speaking to his representatives who were confident that it would happen then. But it didn't."

Sigurdsson resumed training with Swansea's first-team squad after they returned from America.

But he took no part in pre-season games and also sat out last weekend's Premier League opener at Southampton.

"It was probably more awkward for him than me when he came back and trained with us," Clement said.

"I was never going to say 'you've said your goodbyes now go and train over there'.

"He continued to train with us and he was one of the hardest working players in the group, even during that period.

"It is disappointing, but we were realistic that a club investing who are above us means you can lose them."

Press Association

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