Swans boss Sousa’s warning to Rangel to keep Premier dream alive
Feb 5 2010 by Blair Wood, Western Mail
PAULO SOUSA has warned beleaguered star Angel Rangel the only way to keep his Premiership dream alive is to prove his worth with Swansea City.
And, adamant chairman Huw Jenkins was right to turn down Fulham’s deadline day bid for the highly-rated defender, the Swans boss warned Rangel his place in the starting XI will be at risk if he lets Monday’s transfer stand-off affect his form.
Rangel caused a stir this week when he publicly accused Jenkins of stalling his career by denying him a move to the Premiership.
The Spaniard argued that Fulham had agreed to meet Swansea’s valuation for his services only to then find Jenkins couldn’t be contacted, making it impossible to complete the deal.
The Swansea supremo then hit back, expressing his disappointment at a number of inaccuracies in Rangel’s comments.
And, as the row rumbled on, it was inevitable Sousa would be asked for his take on the matter.
While washing his hands of financial matters, the Portuguese’s response was to suggest that Rangel still has to improve as a player before he is ready for the top flight.
Sousa is confident the 27-year-old will have more opportunities to realise his Premiership ambitions but, alluding to a drop in form this season, he claimed the only way to guarantee it is to raise his game at Swansea.
“I don’t want to talk about finances because that is the chairman’s job,” he said.
“But, technically and tactically, in my opinion, Angel has to progress a lot as a player.
“He is a good player with a good understanding of the game. But he can be a lot better than he has been until now.
“Hopefully he can do that with us here. Then he can have what he wants.
“If a player is consistent in his performances and grows all the time, the chance (to move) never goes. They come more and more.
“So, if he keeps doing well and plays better than he has until now, I’m sure in the end, whether it’s next season or in two seasons, he will probably have better opportunities than this one.”
While Sousa may be challenging Rangel to prove his worth on the pitch, the obvious question is whether he is in the right place mentally to do so.
Rangel’s outburst was a clear sign that he had been unsettled by Fulham’s interest and now Swansea fans wait to see if there is any impact upon his performances.
But one thing is sure, if the right-back does have issues, his manager isn’t willing to indulge them.
Asked if he was confident Rangel’s head was in the right place ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Preston, Sousa’s response was unequivocal. Rangel better be because, if not, his chances to impress any Premiership suitors will be severely limited.
“I’m not concerned about that because, if Angel isn’t right and doesn’t train or play well, he won’t play for us,” he declared. “It is so simple like that.
“This is what happens in football. Not just here, but with all clubs.
“Players know that if they don’t play well they won’t be picked. If that happens they can’t think about the future.
“Of course the motivation is important and that’s something we want to help him with.
“He needs to be motivated because, if he is thinking about Premier League clubs, he needs to be playing well to keep them interested.
“Angel is a Swansea player and I expect the best from him. I hope we will see the best of him this season.”
Rangel may have hit the headlines this week, but he was not the only player to be linked with a big-money move away from the Liberty Stadium.
As was the case with most recent transfer windows, a number of Swansea players attracted interest.
In the end, along with Rangel, it was respective bids from Wigan and Nottingham Forest for Leon Britton and Darren Pratley that tested Jenkins’ resolve.
Wigan are understood to have offered a cash plus player loan deal for Britton while Forest tabled a £1.5m bid for Pratley.
With both offers being firmly rejected, Sousa was relieved to get through January with his squad intact.
The former Champions League winner had told Jenkins he wanted to keep hold of all of his prize assets and he got his wish. Adamant he would now postpone all talk of players’ futures until the summer, Sousa is looking forward to firmly shifting the attention back to footballing matters.
“I’m happy the window has closed because now everyone can be 100 per cent focused on playing for Swansea,” he explained. “At this moment in time Swansea is the best club they have and I’m very happy the speculation can finish.
“I’m happy because I worked very hard from the start of the season to keep most of the players in the squad. They are a fantastic group and I’m delighted we can finish the season with that group intact.
“I spoke to the chairman about my thoughts and, when he told me the club didn’t have any financial problems, I told him I wanted to keep the players.
“He did that and I’m very happy about it.”
Asked if it was difficult to turn down offers from the Premiership, he replied: “I don’t know why (people think that).
“If the club does not have financial problems, why wouldn’t we turn them down?
“I am just happy I got to keep the players I wanted and the chairman did everything he could to keep them.
“Now, if players want to think about a future in the Premiership, they need to play well here. Swansea has to be their focus.
“I don’t care about whether or not they will move on in the summer.
“They just need to play well until the end of the season and then I will take my decisions.”