Swansea City have completed the transfer of midfielder Andrea Orlandi to Brighton.
The Spaniard had his contract at the Liberty Stadium cancelled in order to join Gus Poyet’s promotion hopefuls on a free transfer.
“It’s exactly five years since I first joined Swansea in League One,’’ explained Orlandi. “I was a 23-year-old with long hair then. Now I’m leaving with short hair, a baby and the club in the Premier League. I could never have imagined that, but the reality has overcome the expectations.
“I have loved this club from the first day I arrived, and I will always love it. I may not be a Swansea player, but I will always be a Swansea supporter – ‘Always A Jack’ as they say here.
“There is a fantastic group of guys here and that’s why I’m sad to leave. I’ve been lucky to meet and work under some great players and managers and I’ve learnt a lot from them all.
“I’ll always be able to come back to Swansea with my head held high and a smile, which is important.
“I’ve been a bit unlucky with injuries since I signed, but I’ve always given 120 per cent for this club. I’ve always been committed and hopefully the fans have seen that.
“The supporters have always been very good to me, especially when a player doesn’t play much. They’ve shown me a lot of respect and I appreciate that. I’ve always tried to give something back; I’ve always tried my best.
“The relationship will always be there and I will always come back to visit Swansea whenever I can.
“I obviously wanted to play more games in the Premier League, but I understand the competition here is high and I’ve got to move on with a new challenge.”
At least there will be some familiar faces to meet him at Brighton with former Swans Marcus Painter and Ryan Harley in their ranks.
“It’s a fresh start and a new challenge for me at Brighton,’’ added Orlandi. “It’s a good club with big expectations. I think it’s the right move for me and I’m looking forward to it.
“I see the story at Brighton very similar to that at Swansea. They have built a new stadium; got promoted from League One to the Championship; done really well there and are now trying to get into the Premier League.
“Hopefully I will come back here as a Brighton player in the Premier League. That would be a dream.’’
The former Barcelona midfielder joined the Swans under former boss Roberto Martinez at the start of the 2007/08 season from La Liga side Alaves.
He had spent two seasons on loan at Barcelona, making 66 appearances for Barcalona 'B' and four appearances for the first team. Two of those appearances came in the La Liga Primera Division, while he also played the final two games for Barcelona as they lifted the Catalunya Cup.
He had two years left on his contract at Second Division side Alaves, but agreed on a free transfer to the Liberty.
Having started as a winger, he moved to a more central midfield role in the 2009-10 season. It sparked some impressive performances and he signed a new contract which was extended again the following summer.
Orlandi, who made 79 league appearances for the club, started his first game in the top flight at Aston Villa in January last season, the day the Swans won their first away game. He also scored the fastest Premier League goal of the season when he headed past former ‘keeper Dorus de Vries after just 24 seconds in the bizarre 4-4 home draw with Wolves.
Swansea City would like to wish Andrea good luck with his new challenge at Brighton and thank him for his services over the last five years.
To see the full interview on Swans Player with Andrea, click HERE
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