Swansea City have been dealt a major blow in their bid to appoint Steve Cooper’s successor at the Liberty Stadium.
That’s according to a claim made by Mike McGrath, with The Telegraph journalist revealing in a post on Twitter that John Eustace, who was the leading candidate to take over from Cooper, has reluctantly turned the club’s approach down.
McGrath continues by stating that, despite agreements being made between Queens Park Rangers and Swansea, the 41-year-old will now be remaining as Mark Warburton’s number two at QPR, so Jason Levien and Steven Kaplan will have to turn their attention to other targets.
A report by Wales Online claimed that both Cameron Toshack and Michael Appleton could be options for the Swans owners, with both having previously been targeted by the Championship club prior to Cooper’s appointment.
While Eustace’s rejection may well have sent both Levien and Kaplan into crisis mode, as there is now just a little under two weeks ahead of the new Championship season kicking off, the fact that the QPR assistant will not be joining the club this summer presents Swansea with something of an opportunity.
Indeed, while the 41-year-old has impressed during his time at the west London club, Appleton has arguably proven with Lincoln City that he would be a better fit for the Swans.
Much like Cooper, the 45-year-old guided Lincoln to the play-off final with a rather unfancied group of players last season, demonstrating his ability to bring the best out of a squad that may not be blessed with the most talented footballers in their league.
Furthermore, the former Leicester City caretaker manager also clearly prides himself on the development of younger players, with his Imps team ranking as the third youngest side in League One last time out.
This is a very deliberate choice by Appleton, who has overseen a drop of seven years in the Lincoln squad’s average age since taking over at the LNER Stadium back in 2019, something that would appear to indicate the 45-year-old prioritises a club’s long term future rather than chasing immediate rewards.
Indeed, this is yet another comparison to Cooper, with it being reported that higher-ranking sides approach both Swansea and Lincoln regarding loan deals for their up and coming stars before offering them to other clubs, as a result of the two managers’ reputations for youth development.
As such, while missing out on Eustace will have frustrated Levien and Kaplan, if his rejection means that Swansea end up appointing Appleton, it would appear as if the QPR man’s decision could have brought with it a huge silver lining for the Welsh club.