Soccer

Steve Cooper poised to quit Swansea two weeks before Championship season starts

The 2021/22 season could be off to a nightmarish start before it’s even begun for Swansea, who are reportedly on the verge of parting ways with manager Steve Cooper.

Cooper, 41, was set to lead the Swans for a third campaign having taken the club into the Championship play-offs in the past two terms, losing last season’s Wembley final to Brentford.

Rumours had emerged suggesting Cooper could step down, and the Telegraph reported that looks to be the case as the two parties near an agreement to terminate his contract.

Swansea could find themselves in a rush to appoint a replacement ahead of the new season, with the Welsh outfit scheduled to open the Championship campaign away to Blackburn on August 7.

It’s alleged Cooper is ready to leave due to ‘concerns over the future direction of the club’, which he may feel has failed to reinvest some of their more significant player sales since his arrival.

Daniel James and Oli McBurnie were sold—to Manchester United and Sheffield United, respectively—for a combined sum of almost £35million in the same summer Cooper joined Swansea.

Joe Rodon also joined Tottenham last year for a deal in excess of £10m, while star forward Andre Ayew was released this summer and coveted midfielder Matt Grimes has been linked with the exit.

But the club has spent very little on new signings during Cooper’s tenure, with Dutch striker Joel Piroe the only investment who has cost more than £1m following his recent move from PSV Eindhoven.

Cooper spoke to BBC Sport Wales after Swansea defeated Plymouth 2-1 in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday, when his comments only led to further speculation: "I think if there is any real news that's when we would speak.

"There's no official updates on anything. You know I don't like talking about myself so let's focus on the boys.

"I am here, I am working hard. I think you could see against Plymouth through the good and some not-so-good moments that the players are trying to do what I'm asking.

"Day by day, that's how it is. I have always been that way. I have not paid attention to anything else.

"If there's anything really official to talk about me, we'll talk about it then but there's not so we'll leave it that."

Wales Online journalist Ian Mitchelmore tweeted that the club have been on the hunt for a new manager already: “Swansea are hopeful of announcing a replacement for Steve Cooper well before their Championship opener at Blackburn on August 7.

“Work underway for some time.”

Former England and Liverpool youth coach Cooper has won 47 and drawn 28 of his 105 games in charge at the Liberty Stadium, with the Swans set for their fourth straight season in the second tier.

The promotion hopefuls face three more pre-season friendlies against Bristol Rovers, Forest Green Rovers and Premier League outfit Southampton before the 2021/22 term gets underway.

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