Swansea City: Chairman Trevor Birch does not have remit to sell club

John Toshack and Trevor Birch
Trevor Birch, pictured here with John Toshack, represented Shrewsbury Town and Chester during his playing career

Swansea City chairman Trevor Birch says he has not been tasked with finding a buyer for the Championship club.

Birch has earned a reputation for addressing financial issues at clubs in readiness for new owners.

But while his goal is to get Swansea back on an "even keel" financially, Birch says the club's American owners want a return to the Premier League.

Birch insists there will be no "fire sale" this summer at the Liberty, but admits more players will depart.

The Swans have already released over £20 million of signings while Wales winger Daniel James is being tipped for a switch to Manchester United.

Birch also suggested signings will be made in this transfer window, while the club will look to build a structure beneath the manager which will put less importance on the role, following the exit of boss Graham Potter to Brighton.

A former professional footballer himself, Birch replaced Huw Jenkins as Swansea chairman in April.

Trevor Birch and Alan Curtis
Swansea club president Alan Curtis will help to select a new manager at the Liberty Stadium

The end game is the Premier League

When asked about the motive of his new employers, Birch explained his remit is not preparing the club to be sold.

"I'm not entirely sure what their end game is, other than concentrating on the here and now and trying to fix the current cash situation we are in," he said.

"Logic may say they might look to (sell) but that's not in black and white - it's not my brief.

"What I am concentrating on initially is trying to bring the thing back on to an even keel and seeing where we go from there.

"If the end game, if there is such a thing, is a sale, they haven't said that.

"I think as far as they are concerned the end game would be getting back into the Premier League.

"You may ask: 'How are they are going to do that without investment?'. But investment doesn't necessarily guarantee you promotion.

"The most important thing for me is getting a strong, permanent, solid infrastructure behind the scenes that we can build on.

"We need great foundations - recruitment, academy, medical, sports science. All that should be rock solid and owned by the club.

"Then whoever comes in is just going to be the coach and isn't getting involved in anything else.

"First and foremost let's create the best football model we can and get everyone feeling good about the club.

"Forget the ownership group and its intentions. It doesn't really matter. In my day-to-day running of the club, it is all about the here and now and sorting things out."

Trevor Birch with former Chelsea owner Ken Bates
Trevor Birch worked under Ken Bates as Chelsea's chief executive

Investment in the future

Birch, 61, is vastly experienced in football, having previously worked for the likes of Chelsea, Leeds, Everton, Derby, Sheffield United and Portsmouth.

He feels it could take two years to rebuild solid foundations at Swansea following their relegation from the Premier League 12 months ago, and says it is possible Swansea's owners, Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, will invest in the team in the future.

"If you are challenging in December and you think you are getting close, then you might have a go," he added.

"But just to pile money in on day one - £100m - where does that get you? There has got to be a bit of a strategy.

"You have to get to a stage where you spend money wisely. Would you say that over the last three years the club has spent its money wisely? Probably not.

"If you can make a compelling proposition that investment is appropriate then, yes, they may do that.

"But at the moment, throwing money around willy-nilly to sort out historical problems is not going to ensure you are going to be successful in the future."

Birch acknowledged that Daniel James could leave this summer and added it is a "given" that high earners Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew must go along with record signing Borja, because their collective wages are "potentially crippling" the club.

However, Birch stressed that Swansea will look to get the best value they can for the players they are looking to sell.

"You can't give players away. You've got to get the right value for them," he said.

"We aren't in a position, and I am pretty well versed in financial positions and football clubs, where we have to sell a player or it is goodnight Vienna.

"If the Dan James thing happens then there might possibly be one or two, but I can't see a fire sale of players."

As for possible signings, Birch said: "There may well be some scope to spend if we are fortunate in our player trading with both those legacy players and with a couple of sales.

"Then we may be able to make what I would call proper football trading decisions. We know there are two or three areas in which we have to strengthen."

Birch says he has been given full responsibility for choosing Swansea's next manager, and will make a decision with help from new football advisor Leon Britton and fellow club legend Alan Curtis.

They will also select a new head of recruitment, an appointment which Birch feels is arguably more important than the choice of manager.

"We are trying to create an infrastructure and a foundation which will mean that if you get the managerial appointment wrong, it's not the end of the world," he explained.

"There are models out there - Watford for example. They got promoted in a season where they changed the manager four times."

Asked what type manager Swansea are looking for, Birch added: "They have got to play the Swansea way, they have got to be hungry and they have got to be able to work with the structure we are going to be putting in place behind the scenes."

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