Kyle Bartley out to make his mark on top flight
THE addition of a seven-figure central defender has slipped under the radar at Swansea City amid the various club- record deals in the news this summer.
Kyle Bartley's £1 million move to the Liberty Stadium has not claimed as many column inches as it may have done were Swansea not trying to spend much of the £15 million Liverpool paid for Joe Allen on Ki Sung-Yueng and Pablo Hernandez, a pair of record signings in waiting.
For Bartley, the hope is the headlines will come a little further down the line.
He has left Arsenal for Swansea believing that he will get more game-time in South West Wales than would have come his way had he remained in North London.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Arsene Wenger promoted Bartley to the first-team squad at the Emirates earlier this summer, suggesting that this could be his breakthrough year.
But having spoken to the Gunners manager about his prospects for the campaign ahead, Bartley felt the opportunity to join Swansea was too good to turn down.
"I do think Arsene would like to give English players a chance but if you look in the past few years there has only been Jack Wilshere that's come through," Bartley says. "He does want to give people a chance, but it's not always the right time and place.
"Things have not been going great at Arsenal for the past couple of years, so he's not had a chance to put in as many young English players as he would like to.
"I had a brilliant five years at Arsenal, but now I'm looking forward to my new career at Swansea. It's a fresh start for me."
Bartley had been anticipating another loan spell this season having previously had stints with Sheffield United and Rangers.
But when Swansea put £1 million on the table, the Stockport-born youngster accepted that it was time he said his Arsenal farewells on a full-time basis.
"I'm a little disappointed it didn't work out at Arsenal but I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason," he adds.
"And coming to Swansea is a fantastic move for me.
"It came about all of a sudden, but I was delighted when I heard Swansea were in for me.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Arsenal, but I felt the time was right. Swansea are a fantastic club and I'm delighted to be here.
"The way they play is fantastic. They want players to express themselves with plenty of freedom.
"It was an honour to watch them at times last season and to finish 11th was fantastic."
Bartley was in the stands at Loftus Road last weekend to watch his new team-mates get their season off to a sensational start.
Swansea had not expected much at Queens Park Rangers having failed to win there in 19 previous visits, so their 5-0 triumph was extraordinary.
"With the new manager coming in, a few fans were probably nervous about how we would play or how we would do, but I thought all the players were excellent," Bartley says.
"QPR are a fantastic club and it is a very difficult place to go and get a result, so to get five goals was incredible."
Bartley was not considered for the Rangers trip, but will hope to play some part when Swansea take on West Ham United this weekend.
The 21-year-old awaits his Premier League debut having made only one senior appearance for Arsenal, as part of a youthful side beaten in the Champions League by Olympiakos back in 2009.
Bartley, then the 18-year-old captain of Arsenal's reserves, played alongside Mikael Silvestre in central defence.
Wenger's team that night also included the likes of Wilshere, Alex Song and Theo Walcott, but Bartley would never get the chance to play in a full-strength Arsenal line-up.
He has spent much of his time since the Olympiakos game away from the club on loan.
He first joined Sheffield United at the back end of the 2009-10 season, then returned to Bramall Lane at the start of the following campaign.
The second spell coincided with Leon Britton's time with the Blades, so there was at least one familiar face for Bartley as he began training with Swansea this week.
In all he made 37 appearances for United, before heading north of the border in January last year to continue his development at Ibrox.
He made nine appearances for Rangers in 2010-11 before a knee injury saw him return to Arsenal.
But Bartley had told Ally McCoist he would return to Glasgow and, after signing a new Arsenal deal 12 months ago, he rejoined Rangers on a season-long loan.
The 6ft 3in powerhouse managed 19 appearances last term, and would have been a regular but for further fitness troubles.
The first challenge he faces at Swansea is to stay fit as he tries to compete for a place in Michael Laudrup's back four.
"First and foremost I want to get myself into training and try to force my way into the Swansea side," Bartley nods.
The new man in Swansea's defence is relishing the prospect of playing for the new man in their dugout.
"You only hear good things about Michael Laudrup," Bartley adds.
"He was a fantastic player and I remember watching him when I was younger. I spoke to him briefly and he seems like a really down-to-earth, nice guy.
"It's the style of football at Swansea I really enjoy and being at Arsenal for five years will stand me in good stead.
"My job is to defend first and foremost but when I can I like to get the ball down and play."
That should be just right for Swansea.