The Ki Question
Whether or not Garry Monk is given the Swansea job on a permanent basis in the summer - and the club’s fans seem split on the issue, with many hoping that a more experienced man will be brought in to take the helm - there is one player whose future at the club is very uncertain.
April 10th, 2014
Ki Sung-yeung was signed from Celtic in 2012 for £6M – then a club record – amid quite the fanfare. The South Korean international had been hugely impressive in his time with the Scottish side, and his passing style seemed a perfect fit for Swansea, who had made their name on being good with the ball.
His first year in Wales went well, and although he didn’t carry the same attacking threat as he had in the SPL, he became an important part of the side, and in the League Cup final even shifted to centre-back to fill a gap in the side, excelling as the club lifted their first cup since their Football League Trophy success in 2006.
Despite his promising season, and having won over a number of sceptics who see a player coming from north of the border as automatically inferior, the midfielder was sent out on loan for the 2013-14 season, with Sunderland the beneficiaries of an odd decision. Granted, Swansea had just brought in Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool to bolster their midfield options, but to jettison Ki after such a promising first season at the club looked like a strange decision from the outside.
And so it has proved to be. While Sunderland have struggled under both Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet, Ki has been one of the most consistent performers in their side, showing his importance to the side in the recent defeat against Liverpool. The Black Cats had looked bereft of threat until the midfielder was introduced from the bench, and he along with Adam Johnson immediately caused the league leaders problems, with Ki scoring as the relegation-threatened side almost came back to snatch a point.
Swansea do not lack in midfield options and good passers of the ball, with Shelvey, Leon Britton and Jonathan De Guzman all quality players, but the idea that they cannot find a place for a player of the talent of Ki Sung-yeung in their squad is a difficult one to accept. Indeed, Monk has stated his desire to bring Ki back to the Liberty Stadium next season, and that he believes he could play an important part in the future of the club.
Whether this happens or not remains to be seen, with just one year left on his contract the club may feel it best to cut their losses and sell, particularly if he plays well at the World Cup. If they do, it will be a shame to see such a talented player fail to make the most out of a move to a club that seemed to suit him down to the ground, but he will have no shortage of suitors, and Swansea may just live to regret not making the most of their chance with the talented South Korean.