This was billed as a big season for Kyle Bartley as he was given another chance at Swansea City after an impressive loan spell at Leeds United. However, disaster has struck early for the 26-year-old after he was stretchered off last month against MK Dons. It looked a bad injury at the time and Sky Sports report that he will be out for three months after undergoing successful surgery on his knee.
The injury came as a result of landing awkwardly after challenging for a header. The centre-back had started the recent match against Manchester United and looked on the brink of breaking into the first-team. Paul Clement confirmed the extend of the injury:
“We were disappointed to lose Kyle. He has now had surgery and we expect him to be out for around 12 weeks,”
“The period of 12 weeks is an estimate, and we will have to see how Kyle responds to his rehabilitation.”
How big is this blow for Swansea?
This may not be regarded as the worst thing for the Swans, as Bartley wasn’t at the club last season and they have other centre-backs that are good enough for the Premier League. However, Clement will be disappointed to be missing Bartley for three months. The 26-yar-old had a lot of momentum after starring in the Championship last season. That will now be lost and he will have to start from scratch when he returns.
Bartley has been at the club for a number of years, but this looked to be his best opportunity to break into the first-team. He has everything to become a good Premier League defender. The 26-year-old is dominant in the air, a good reader of the game and confident on the ball. His agility and acceleration makes him a well-rounded defender. There are flaws in his game, but he has the potential to grow into a crucial member of the Swansea team.
Who will be the starting centre-backs in his absence?
Alfie Mawson has emerged as a key player during the last six months and he will be crucial for the team during Bartley’s absence. He is a commanding figure and a future captain of the club. There was a possibility that he could form an exciting partnership with Bartley, but those plans will have to be shelved until the 26-year-old returns.
The other two centre-backs at the club are Mike van der Hoorn and Federico Fernandez. The latter is more experienced and the one likely to be given the nod to start if they opt for a two-man partnership. Clement has shown his adaptability and played with a three-man defence in the last two matches, but the injury to Bartley makes it a risk to continue with that for a long-term.