Graham Potter chasing Tom Flanagan suggests unease in academy defenders

Swansea City boss Graham Potter has shown a lot of faith in academy graduates so far, but HITC understands Sunderland’s Tom Flanagan is a January target.

What’s the word?

HITC Sport are suggesting via a source close to the club that Swansea are keeping tabs on the 27-year-old defender’s progress in League One, although they do not specify if the club is on the Welsh or English side of the border.

It is, however, understood that the Swans have watched Flanagan on several occasions since he moved to the Black Cats in the summer, as Potter looks to bolster his defensive options.

Flanagan’s transfer from Burton Albion did not cost Jack Ross’ side a penny, and the player valued by TransferMarkt at £225,000 has never actually moved for a set fee in his professional career.

Sunderland would demand a fee, though, as the MK Dons product signed a two-year contract upon his arrival and has been integral ever since.

Out of the League One contender’s 19 games, Flanagan has started 11 times and cOme on as a substitute once. Sunderland are also yet to lose in a game where the defender has started.

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Is it the end of the production mill?

Potter has been a great coach when it comes to handing youth talent minutes on the pitch so far, with Joe Rodon, Daniel James and Yan Dhanda all handed their senior debuts this season.

Connor Roberts has also featured for the Swans on 20 occasions – the joint most of his teammates – despite recording just a single outing in the Championship when on loan at Middlesbrough last season.

Going after a more proven talent in Flanagan, however, suggests the 43-year-old head coach does not hold much faith in the young defenders still waiting for their chance.

21-year-old Cian Harries has featured with the first team just once in each the Carabao Cup and the Championship, but has been assigned back to the academy ever since.

Likewise, Tottenham loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers has been in and out of the side all season, failing to cement a place ahead of Mike van der Hoorn or Rodon.