Swansea City assistant manager Claude Makélélé has confirmed he has left the club, to become Head Coach of Belgian side K.A.S Eupen.
The Frenchman joined the club when Paul Clement took over in January, and has been credited with playing a huge part in Swansea’s revival last season in order to avoid relegation.
He joins the club that are currently bottom of Belgium’s top-flight, and swaps one relegation battle for another.
Left a wonderful club
In a statement to Swansea’s official website, Makélélé said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Swansea, especially helping the club secure its Premier League status last season,” said the man who had an illustrious playing career at Real Madrid, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’d like to thank the owners, chairman and the manager for giving me the opportunity.” The 44-year-old said. “The experience has given me a lot of positives to help me in my managerial career in the future – and I hope I’ve been able to give something back to the club along the way.
“It’s a wonderful football club; a real family club that’s been a pleasure to serve.” Makélélé then went on to say, “I’d like to thank everyone for the welcome and help I’ve received in Swansea from the backroom staff to the fans.”
He admitted that while Swansea are going through a tough time right now, he knows that Clement can turn fortunes around.
“Yes, things are difficult on the pitch at the moment, but I’d urge everyone to stay patient,” he added.
“I know Paul (Clement) will make a success of it. The work he is doing on the training ground is excellent and it will eventually transfer to the games.
“I think two wins will be enough to raise confidence and get things going again.” He said about the side currently 19th in the table. “The quality is there to get out of trouble, but it is very important the fans stick with the team. You have to understand that it’s a young team and they need help.
“It’s like a mother protecting her baby. The fans need to do the same with the players; protect them and they will respond, like they did in the second half of last season, with renewed energy and confidence. That’s where the word ‘family’ plays its part in a family club.”
Swansea have not yet named a replacement for Makélélé, but Nigel Gibbs has been a big part of Clement’s backroom staff and we could see him given more responsibility.
The news is rather timely, as yesterday a report from WalesOnline said that extensive calls had taken place between chairman Huw Jenkins and the club’s owners regarding the current state of the team, but the manager’s position is not under threat.
Clement will not be happy to hear the news that Makélélé is leaving though, as more bad fortune falls on Clement’s shoulders.