By George Overhill

10th Sep, 2023 | 8:10pm

Swansea City could not 'compete' with Leeds United transfer offer, had to sell Joel Piroe chief admits

Swansea City tried to keep Joel Piroe but couldn’t “compete” with Leeds United whose bid “exceeded” their internal valuation in some areas, according to Paul Watson.

The Swans sporting director told Wales Online (9 September) that the new Elland Road striker told them he wouldn’t sign a new deal, and once the Whites came in with the benefit of parachute payments they had to sell.

The Dutchman, 24, was the headline arrival of the transfer window for Daniel Farke after he signed for an initial £10.5million fee, which could rise as high as £16m [The Athletic, 25 August].

Watson said: “I had a lot of conversations with Joel. I have had conversations with a lot of players. I have said there are two things I will be – I will be fair and I will be honest.

“We ultimately wanted to try to keep Joel but what he wanted and what his representatives wanted wasn’t within the structure of the football club.

“We felt we couldn’t break that structure because of the knock-on effect. That was coupled with an offer that came in. We had an internal valuation and that was met and exceeded in some contingents.

“When you are getting a return on an investment, he indicated that he wasn’t going to sign a new contract and you can’t compete with a club who have parachute payments, that all came to a point where you say what do we do, we get the absolute best for the football club.

“We can get something we can then reinvest and strengthen as we go.”


Leeds United needed a striker this summer just as they did last year, but this time they went out and got a proven option by paying what it took.

Piroe’s debut goal in the win at Ipswich suggested he will keep up his excellent record from South Wales in West Yorkshire, but his anonymous second outing in the goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday shows Farke still has some work to do to set up his side properly for the new scorer.

While Leeds did send out some notable money late in the window, and ended up with a heavy negative net spend this year as a result, they weren’t initially the big fish armed with parachute payments some fans had hoped for after relegation.

A long list of players leaving on loan for next to nothing thanks to relegation release clauses restricted the new 49ers ownership’s ability to spend thanks to profit and sustainability rules for much of the window.

Tyler Adams’ contentious £20million-plus move to Bournemouth finally appeared to free them up in the market in the final weeks, with Piroe followed by Glen Kamara from Rangers, Ilia Gruev from Werder Bremen, and a loan fee for Tottenham’s Djed Spence paid out.

Credit should go to the hierarchy for coming out of the summer with a decent squad on paper, even if some of them are complicit in getting the club into the situation in the first place.

Landing Piroe would have certainly reassured a fanbase that had become accustomed to pinning their hopes on Patrick Bamford’s injury record, but unless Farke can get everything clicking regularly it won’t mean anything.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has heard that there “might be an issue again” when it comes to release clauses next summer with one star man.