Young Chelsea defender Marc Guehi’s loan spell at Swansea City was denied its fairytale ending on Saturday afternoon as the Swans lost the Championship Play-Off final 2-0 to Brentford at Wembley.
Fresh from beating Barnsley over the course of their two-legged semi-final showdown, the Swans came unstuck against a determined Brentford side, who were eager to make up for last season’s Play-Off final defeat at the hands of Fulham.
Two goals inside the opening 20 minutes, the first of which came via the penalty spot from the ever-lethal Ivan Toney and then a second from Emiliano Marcondes, put Swansea’s dream of returning to the Premier League on hold for at least another 12 months.
On the day, Steve Cooper and his Swansea players could have no complaints; they failed to turn up and produce the goods when it mattered most. However, that should not take away the success that Guehi, who has spent this season on loan in south Wales from Stamford Bridge, has enjoyed this term.
The 20-year-old has been a rock at the back for Cooper’s side this season, producing outstanding performance after outstanding performance. But now that his time at the Liberty Stadium has drawn to a close, it remains to be seen whether or not he will break into Thomas Tuchel’s plans next season or be sent out on loan once again to continue his development.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. The fans and everyone at the club has really embraced me and taken me in as if I was family,” Guehi told Swansea’s club website.
“It’s been an amazing time I’ve spent here; Swansea City will forever be in my heart. I enjoyed every minute on the pitch, especially with the fans. I didn’t get to play in front of them too much, but the times that I did I really enjoyed.
“I don’t know what my future holds but I’ll definitely keep my eyes on how Swansea are doing at all times and support them from afar.
“The fans have been great; everyone’s really taken me under their wing and it’s been amazing.”
Guehi, although still only 20-years-old and learning the ropes, has proven this season that he can perform on a consistent basis, cementing himself as one of the very best centre-backs in the Championship this term. With Chelsea likely to be on the hunt for a new centre-back this summer, Guehi could be the ideal figure to save the club millions and offer Tuchel food for thought in his plans for next term.
Although he remains unsure about what the future holds for him in west London, Guehi admitted that he was “absolutely gutted” not to have helped Swansea return to the top-flight after coming so close for a second season in succession.
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He added: “I’m absolutely gutted, disappointed – any negative feeling that springs to mind. It’s been such a long season with such drive, ambition and hard work from the lads; it’s just a shame that we couldn’t get over the line.
“But I’m incredibly proud of everyone for coming this far and at least giving it a go in the final. We kept running and going again, so we showed pride.”