BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Ryan Blair has joined Barclay’s Premier League outfit Swansea City from Falkirk in a deal believed to be worth around £200,000 plus add-ons.
The 19-year-old travelled to South Wales to complete the formalities of the switch and undergo a medical earlier this week, missing Tuesday evening’s Scottish Cup defeat against Dundee.
And he penned a three-and-a-half year deal at the Liberty Stadium yesterday, hailing the move as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
Blair, who made just 10 appearances for Falkirk, is the fourth player to move between the Bairns and Swansea in the last two years, following in the footsteps of Jay Fulton, Stephen Kingsley and Botti Biabi.
The youngster, who will go straight into the Swans’ under-21 squad, told Swansea’s official website: “It feels great. I never thought I would get the opportunity to join a Premier League club.
“I want to kick on now and get myself some game-time between now and the end of the season.
“I played with Stephen [Kingsley], Jay [Fulton] and Botti [Biabi] at Falkirk. I was good mates with them all, so it is great to be joining them at Swansea. The three of them being here will help me settle quicker. They are all good players and I am looking forward to getting back out on the pitch with them.
“For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just can’t wait to get started.”
The official transfer figure was not disclosed, however, as well as banking a six-figure sum for the player, it is understood several performance-related bonuses are included within the fee.
And Bairns boss Peter Houston believes yet another Falkirk youngster making the move south is a vindication of the club’s lauded academy structure.
He praised: “I have always said that we, as a club, would never deny a player the chance to go and further his career. Ryan has a lot of potential and will get the opportunity to continue his development at top class facilities.
“It’s testament to the way we bring young players through that Ryan joins several others in getting a move and we wish him well.”
Asked whether Houston would be allow to reinvest a portion of the fee towards doing to his squad, Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson added: “The board has always made it clear to Peter that if there is a particular investment that he feels is crucial to the club in the medium-to-long term, then he just needs to speak to us and we will make a decision very quickly.”