By Harry Sykes
It is not just fans of Swansea who will be celebrating Hull’s relegation from the Premier League.
The Humberside club’s 4-0 hammering at Crystal Palace on Sunday, which confirms they will be back in the Championship next season, would also have been greeted with joy and delight from the Leeds United faithful.
Why? For the simple reason that it massively increases Leeds’ chances of signing Kyle Bartley during the summer transfer window.
Manager Garry Monk has made no attempt to hide his desire to convert the defender’s season-long loan into a permanent deal.
Asked if he wanted to re-sign the 25-year-old, Monk told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Of course. Kyle’s been tremendous this season.
“Obviously I’ve got experience with Kyle and I know him very well, but he’d be the first to tell you that this has been by far his best season and by far his best progression as a footballer – the best football he’s ever played.”
In turn, Bartley has spoken in recent weeks with great warmth of his experience at Leeds and how his career has been reignited by a campaign under Monk and his coaching staff.
But a fly in the ointment appeared this week in the shape of Bartley’s parent club Swansea, who hold his registration for another year after he signed a new contract last summer.
Manager Paul Clement insisted that he is fully aware of the centre-back’s performances this season and is keen on welcoming him back to the Liberty Stadium.
But Swansea’s confirmed Premier League safety provides a new twist in Bartley’s situation.
Sure, the centre-back’s reputation and transfer value have been considerably enhanced by his campaign at the heart of the Yorkshire giants’ backline.
But the Arsenal academy product is proven in the Championship, not the Premier League.
Swansea are now not only more likely to hold on to their senior centre-backs Alfie Mawson, Federico Fernandez and Mike van der Hoorn but any squad reinforcements are likely to be defenders with more top-flight experience than Bartley’s 24 Premier League appearances.
He has been a colossal figure for Leeds this season, starting 45 of their 46 Championship matches and only denied the full set by a minor knee injury.
His partnership with Pontus Jansson was integral to the team’s promotion challenge that only fell narrowly short following a final-month collapse.
But Swansea’s safety will provide fresh optimism at Leeds that they can hold on to Bartley.
In other Leeds United transfer news, it has sensationally emerged that Andrea Radrizzani’s takeover of the club is under major threat in what is a shattering blow.