Swansea City manager Paul Clement has cast doubt over Kyle Bartley’s proposed return to Leeds United by claiming the defender will be part of his squad at the Liberty Stadium next season.
Clement said Bartley was “a Swansea player and he’s staying” after Leeds head coach Garry Monk marked Bartley out as a priority transfer target for the Elland Road club this summer.
Monk will push for a permanent deal for Bartley, who made a big impression while on loan with United this season, if his own contract as United head coach is extended but Clement vowed to resist offers for a player who is tied to Swansea for another year.
Bartley joined City in 2012 and has never been regular first-team player in Wales but Swansea extended his contract by 12 months when they sanctioned his loan to Leeds last July.
His move to Yorkshire was a major success, resulting in 50 appearances and leading to Bartley captaining Monk’s side for much of the campaign.
Clement, whose side are still at risk of relegation from the Premier League, told Wales Online: “He’s had a good season, we’ve spoken on the telephone and said well done.
“It’s unusual loan players captaining the side, he’s done well, but from our point of view I’m looking forward to him coming back and working with him.
“As far as I’m concerned he’s a Swansea player and he’s staying. He’s coming back here.”
Monk was open about his plan to sign Bartley permanently after the defender ended his loan in a 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic on Sunday, saying: “Kyle’s been tremendous this season. 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.”
Bartley also suggested that he was interested in coming back to Elland Road.
“I can’t say too much but what I can say is that I’ve loved every single second of this year,” Bartley said. “I’ve fallen in love with the players, the staff, the fans, the club. It’s been brilliant. That’s as far as I can say.”