Swans set to benefit from Rodgers nostalgia

Posted by Max Hicks

Michael Steele/Getty ImagesMost expect Ash Williams to depart Wales should Brendan Rodgers come calling.

Brendan Rodgers is a man with a curious quirk -- a seemingly unbending loyalty to players from his own past. Swansea City may once again be set to cash in on Rodgers' penchant for nostalgia with Ash Williams the subject of increasingly plausible-sounding transfer rumours.

Many a well-travelled manager has certain favourite players they like to take with them wherever they go. Brain Clough and John McGovern make perhaps the best example, and even Michael Laudrup has previous history with Jonathan De Guzman and Chico. However, Rodgers's retroactive transfer policy is starting to look at odds with his station.

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When Rodgers was in charge of Swansea, his connections were useful. He brought a back-seat full of talent to small-time Swansea from big six Chelsea. Scott Sinclair, Fabio Borini and Josh McEachran were all players he had worked with while he was a part of Chelsea's youth set-up (granted, McEachran hardly played, but the Swans rolled into the Premier League on the back of Sinclair's goals, and Borini was briefly the best striker in the Championship). Similarly, he bought Danny Graham from another former club, Watford, after having previously brought Graham to Watford from Carlisle.

It made sense. Rodgers tapped his black book and brought a touch more class to an already fairly polished Championship side. However, Liverpool are themselves a big six side (historically, if not presently), and whereas bringing in higher-tier talent to a small club was beneficial, the exchange isn't quite as effective in reverse.

We'll spare Borini the blushes and move straight on to Joe Allen. Allen was a key cog in the Swansea system. Now he's another expensive squad player at Liverpool, and not missed at Swansea, who replaced Allen with the potentially superior Ki Sung-Yueng for a third of the price. If Rodgers's loyalty cost Liverpool in the Allen deal, it is likely to do so again this summer if he persuades Fenway Sports Group to sanction the signing of Williams.

Williams is an important player for Swansea, which is why the Swans allegedly turned down nine million pounds from Arsenal for him during the winter window, and why Liverpool will be asked to stump up more than ten million this summer. If Rodgers has his way, Liverpool will pay top dollar for a 29-year-old centre back, and Williams will jump at the chance to work under Rodgers again and play for the club he supported as a boy.

I actually think Williams would do well for Liverpool, but the move is a bittersweet proposition for Swansea. The Swans don't want to lose their acting captain and defensive rock, but ten or twelve million is a lot of money -- enough to make the decision moot. If Liverpool make the offer, Williams will go.

The hard task of replacing Williams will of course be made easier with all that extra money to add to the kitty, especially since centre backs usually don't command as big a fee as either midfielders or forwards. Other Liverpool target Toby Alderweireld of Ajax is rumoured to be available for only seven or eight million for example, which means the Swans really will have made Liverpool pay for Rodgers's nostalgia if they do manage to get their preferred fee.

It is also possible that the Swans could let Williams go to Liverpool slightly cheaper in part-exchange for Sebastian Coates. The unpopular Uruguayan was brought to Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish and hasn't had a sniff under Rodgers. Coates has struggled with the big club pressure, but could thrive if shown some belief and given a bigger role at a smaller side.

Even if Williams stays put, it might not hurt Swansea to make an enquiry about Coates. Unless of course Darnel Situ is finally ready for the first team

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