Signed in June 2015 alongside the likes of Éder and André Ayew, Franck Tabanou had the qualities to provide a long-awaited improvement to our left side of defence. Two years, as well as two loan spells later, it’s been reported that the Frenchman has mutually terminated the last year of his contract at the Swans.
Tabanou was an exciting prospect when he joined the club for a fee of around £3.5m. An attacking full-back with a rocket of a left foot, you’d be forgiven for considering his signing the most necessary of that Summer. Stephen Kingsley was sent out on loan to Crewe, with Tabanou set to take Neil Taylor all the way in an attempt to claim his left-back position.
Unfortunately for both parties, that wasn’t the case. Kingsley was recalled from his loan in November, which after criticisms of Tabanou’s fitness by manager Garry Monk, was a sign of things to come for the former Saint-Etienne man. It was Saint-Etienne, in fact, where he played the rest of his football that season after joining on loan in January. A poor performance against League Two opposition Oxford United in the FA Cup was the final straw.
It’s been seen on various occasions for French players to speak badly of their parent club to the French media – Bafetimbi Gomis did it in 2015 – and Tabanou was no different. Speaking to L’Equipe, he said that “tactically, they [Swansea] are not at the top”, and claimed that “the club is in a terrible situation, and despite that, they never let me play.” He did however go on to admit that he “might have been able to make more of an effort”, but wasn’t the kind of player to fight for ninety minutes.
It was that lack of commitment from Tabanou that was very much the problem. Although clearly a talented player, Garry Monk was never going to tolerate such poor attitude from a new signing – particularly in a season which the Swans’ struggled to build on their best-ever Premier League season the year before.
What he thought speaking to the media would achieve, I’m not quite sure. From that moment on, even the most forgiving of Swans’ fans struggled to find reason to bring Tabanou back into the fold. After failing to impress yet another manager, he was loaned out to Granada in Spain for the entirety of last season where he made just six appearances.
One thing that’s been made clear year after year is that we cannot afford to waste money on poorly thought out transfers. Add the cost of the contract termination to his transfer fee and that’s almost £4m down the drain already. That’s without mentioning the £5m signing of Edér and re-signings of Gerhard Tremmel and Marvin Emnes.
For a club who can’t afford to waste a penny, we seem to be wasting millions.