Swansea City sign former Newmarket Town defender Harry Darling from MK Dons
Former Newmarket Town player Harry Darling has completed a move to Championship outfit Swansea City.
The Burwell-raised centre-back joined Cambridge United from the Jockeys in 2016 and after making an impression with the U's he switched to MK Dons in the winter of 2021.
He was signed by Russell Martin – who six months later left to take charge of Swansea – and he has now returned to his former club to recruit Darling.
And the 22-year-old ex-Bottisham Village College pupil revealed that linking back up with Martin and his style of play was a major driving force in his decision to move to south Wales for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal.
“I personally think it’s the best way to play and that’s why I’m here,” he told Swansea's website. “Russell was a massive part of it. I was with him at my last club and we’ve stayed in contact.
“I love working with him and it’s such a big club. I’ve heard really good things about it so those were the two reasons I want to come here.
“I know the way the manager plays so it was just a case of getting the deal over the line - I just can’t wait to get started.
“The style is different, but when it gets going it’s such an exciting way of playing and it can really dominate teams.
“Although I’m a ball playing centre-back, my first job is to keep clean sheets, defend well and do that for the team. If I can do that bit first, then goals are just added extras.”
Meanwhile, ex-Norwich City defender Martin added: “He’s very young and hungry and he possesses all the attributes you need to play at the very top, in my opinion, and it’s up to us to help him unlock those now,” said the Swans boss.
“He’s got athleticism, mentality, technical ability and, first and foremost, he’s a great character.
“It’s a really brilliant signing for the club in terms of investment. We identified him at our previous club as someone who would really fit what we do, and he’s just grown and kicked on since then.
“He showed massive improvements last year, he’s gained even more experience and scored a lot of goals, which is something else he’s added to his game.
“We fought off a lot of competition from other clubs – even at the last minute, there were other clubs coming in - so he’s shown he’s really keen to be here and be part of something.
“Harry’s been part of this – he’s felt it on the pitch and he knows how powerful this style of play can be. He enjoyed it a lot and I think that’s why we’ve got him.
“If we didn’t have that and we were just competing with other clubs on finance and what they achieved last year then we probably wouldn’t have been in the running, but because of how much he’s enjoyed being part of this way of playing before – that has been the difference.
“He’s worked really hard on adding goals to his game, and he had a brilliant season last year.
“We identified a lot of things we need from that position from last year and he has everything we need.
“Scoring set-piece goals is an area we definitely need to improve on. I think with he and Nathan (Wood) in the building that will help because of the height and the presence they have."