Steve Cooper has departed Swansea City by mutual consent after growing unsettled. The head coach led Swansea to successive Championship play-off finishes but made clear his concerns over the direction of the club.
The 41-year-old took Swansea to the play-off final last season on a modest budget. The club were keen to offer Cooper, whose deal runs until next summer, a new contract following defeat by Brentford at Wembley but the former England Under-17 manager was reluctant to enter talks. Cooper was of interest to Crystal Palace before the Premier League club appointed Patrick Vieira, and his work at Swansea also attracted attention from Fulham, who appointed Marco Silva.
Cooper said “it feels like a good time for all parties to make a change” and Swansea’s chief executive, Julian Winter, pointed to the head coach’s contract situation. “We felt as a club that the situation needed clarity and with a new season edging closer, the mutual nature of this decision allows both parties a chance to look forward,” he said.
Cooper has established a reputation as one of the country’s most exciting young coaches and has helped develop the youngsters Joe Rodon, Rhian Brewster and Marc Guehi, the last of whom this week joined Palace from Chelsea after two seasons on loan at Swansea.
The timing of Cooper’s exit is poor given Swansea are due to start the season at Blackburn Rovers in less than three weeks. It is unclear who will take interim charge and financial restraints suggest it is unlikely they will move for a manager for whom they must pay compensation. The club has a longstanding interest in the Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton, who is recovering after successful testicular cancer surgery, and the Queens Park Rangers assistant John Eustace is also thought to have been shortlisted before Cooper’s appointment in June 2019.