GARRY MONK is hoping to make Swansea City defender Kyle Bartley his first signing since taking over at Middlesbrough.

The pair worked together last season, with Bartley emerging as an influential figure during a season-long loan spell at Leeds United.

The centre-half started all bar one of Leeds’ Championship matches, and skippered the side for around half the campaign despite not being a permanent member of the squad.

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Monk looked into the possibility of signing him on a full-time basis in the latter stages of his Elland Road reign, but with Leeds having failed to insert a signing clause into the loan deal, Swansea boss Paul Clement exercised his right to recall the 26-year-old to the Liberty Stadium at the end of the season.

Clement is keen to have a first-hand look at Bartley during the early weeks of Swansea’s pre-season programme, but Monk is hoping to persuade the Swans boss to sell the defender.

For all that he spelled out a determination to hold on to Ben Gibson during his introductory press conference on Monday, Monk accepts there is a chance the England squad member could depart before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

Calum Chambers has returned to Arsenal following the end of his loan spell, and there are also question marks over Daniel Ayala’s future, with Sheffield Wednesday having expressed an interest in the Spaniard.

As a result, Monk will almost certainly have to sign a couple of central defenders this summer, and Bartley is his early preference as he looks to add to his ranks.

Having started his career as a trainee with Arsenal, Bartley would like a chance to prove himself in the Premier League. However, if Swansea are unable to guarantee him a realistic shot at securing regular first-team football next season, his close personal relationship with Monk could see him move to the Riverside.

Speaking in the final weeks of last season, when Monk was being linked with a move away from Leeds, Bartley said: “Garry is the cornerstone of this club, and if they don’t sign him, they could be in trouble.

“If Garry stays, the club will be in better hands than if he doesn’t. His personality, knowledge, insight and temperament are all second to none.

“He’s been absolutely fantastic. He’s never pointed fingers when things have gone wrong, he’s taken the blame himself.”

Monk, who also been linked with a possible move for Irish winger Aiden McGeady, who spent last season on loan from Everton at Preston, will play a central role in this summer’s transfer dealings.

The departure of former technical director Victor Orta means Boro have returned to a much more ‘traditional’ set-up with power concentrated in the hands of Monk and chief scout Gary Gill.

While Aitor Karanka was appointed as a ‘head coach’, Monk was handed the title of ‘manager’ when he agreed to take over on Teesside. The 38-year-old will be extremely hands-on on the training ground, but his remit runs way beyond his coaching duties.

“All that matters is that I’m working with the first team and with the club, and what I can offer this club,” said Monk, who is set to confirm his first raft of backroom changes shortly. “Titles are titles, but when I look at myself, I’m a manager and I’m a coach.

“That’s my job, I do both things. I’ll let everyone else give the title they want – it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s about the job you’re delivering, how you work, and what you need to do to be able to do both. Because it is management and coaching. If it’s manager, then great.”