Paul Clement prepares to welcome Leeds United loan star Kyle Bartley '˜home' to Swansea

LEEDS UNITED look set to have a fight on their hands to bring back Kyle Bartley after Swansea boss Paul Clement said he was keen to work with the defender at the Liberty Stadium next season.
WANTED MAN: Leeds United's Kyle Bartley. Picture: Jonathan GawthorpeWANTED MAN: Leeds United's Kyle Bartley. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
WANTED MAN: Leeds United's Kyle Bartley. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Bartley played 50 games for Leeds this term and captained the Championship side when first-choice skipper Liam Bridcutt was absent.

But Swansea head coach Clement insisted on Thursday that the Manchester-born central defender would report to Swansea for pre-season training in early July with a view to playing for the South Wales club during 2017-18.

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“He’s had a good season,” said Clement. “I’ve spoken to Kyle on the telephone and said ‘well done this year’. It’s quite unusual for a loan player to captain the side, but from our point of view he’s a Swansea player.

“I’m looking forward to him coming back and working with him at Swansea next season.”

Leeds boss Garry Monk, who also worked with Bartley at Swansea, has made no secret that he wants to sign the 25-year-old if he extends his own Elland Road stay.

“Kyle’s been tremendous this season,” said Monk. “Obviously I’ve got experience with Kyle and I know him very well.

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“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.”

After a 1-1 final day draw at relegated Wigan, Bartley admitted he “loved every single second” of his time at Leeds.

“I’ve fallen in love with the players, the staff, the fans, the club,” said Bartley. It’s been brilliant. That’s as far as I can say.”

Arsenal product Bartley joined Swansea in August 2012 but he has made only 12 league starts and also had a loan spell at Birmingham in that time.