Yan Dhanda made the free transfer from Liverpool to Swansea City in May, but the 19-year-old was not expected to make the step up he’s managed immediately.
Dhanda joined the Reds from West Brom in 2013, and became a staple of the academy as the first player of Indian heritage to sign for the club.
But despite often training under Jurgen Klopp the attacking midfielder failed to make an appearance for the first team, leading him to weigh up his options.
While Liverpool were eager to secure his services longer into the future, but Dhanda turned down their offer of an extension and signed a two-year deal with the newly relegated Swans.
“I wasn’t really getting a chance at Liverpool and I wanted to come somewhere where I hope I will have a better chance to play in the first team. I want to show what I can do,” he said on his arrival.
At the time of his signing, however, the south Wales club were without a manager, with Graham Potter appointed at the beginning of June—leaving Dhanda unclear as to his place in the squad.
But 43-year-old was impressed with the teenager’s performances in training and named him on the bench for the Swans’ opening pre-season friendly away to Yeovil Town.
Dhanda came on to net the equaliser at Huish Park, before Matt Grimes sealed the winner to give Potter the perfect start.
He has since featured against Newport County, made his first start in an Interwetten Cup defeat to Genoa and was named in Potter’s 27-man squad for Swansea’s pre-season tour of Austria.
“You can see Yan plays with enthusiasm,” Potter said after the clash with Genoa.
“He has that ability to play between the lines and in tight areas, which is very good.”
On tour, he started in a 2-1 loss to Eibar, and will be hoping to follow that up with another appearance against Freiburg on Friday afternoon.
He has certainly impressed Swansea supporters who were perhaps unsure of his talents when he made the move to the Liberty Stadium, with some on social media even comparing him to Gylfi Sigurdsson:
— Tadhg (@TBSwans) July 21, 2018
Yan Dhanda you may just fix my heart after Gylfi broke it ?
— Ryan Poulton (@ryanpoults2) July 21, 2018
Excited to see @yandhanda play this season surely got to be Involved
— Nathan Doyle (@DoyleesTheJack) July 26, 2018
Yan Dhanda has to be in the 1st team squad this season
— Chris (@davies2107) July 24, 2018
Big fan of Yan Dhanda already like think he will be wicked for us
— PJ (@PJ9620) July 24, 2018
Yan Dhanda is my favourite player now. He's my new Stephen Dobbie
— Matt (@LMScreamer) July 21, 2018
Yan Dhanda is going to be a revelation this season. I'm telling you.
— ????lS ?d?so? ??????? (@JoeSlats5555) July 21, 2018
I hope Yan Dhanda takes his opportunity. Looks decent, definitely has potential. The Championship would be a great place to start making a name for yourself.
— Richie Phillips ????????? (@AmmanValleyKing) July 23, 2018
— Jason ???????? (@EVS376Y) July 21, 2018
With Swansea playing in the second tier this season, Dhanda could certainly be handed an opportunity in the Championship, as Potter bids to lead his side back to the Premier League.
If the Dudley native is able to perform on a regular basis in the first team his decision to leave Merseyside will have been vindicated.
Though there is still a bit of Liverpool in heart if his initiation song is anything to go by—he sang Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds to his new team-mates in Austria.