Thursday, May 24, 2018

Swansea have not recovered from poor summer

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 23 Sep 2016

Are Swansea missing the leadership skills of Welsh captain Ashley Williams?

Are Swansea missing the leadership skills of Welsh captain Ashley Williams?

Swansea endured a very disappointing summer transfer window, as two of their best players Andre Ayew and Ashley Williams were sold, yet the team seems to be worse off for the summer exits and new arrivals.

Experienced Italian boss Francesco Guidolin was handed the managerial reins on a permanent basis in the summer. However, already the tabloids have Ryan Giggs as the next man in the hot seat in south Wales.

The problem that Guidolin had was that aforementioned poor summer transfer window and the fact that he could not replace quality departures.

This weekend the Swans face another visit of league leaders Manchester City, who won 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium in midweek in the EFL Cup with both teams fielding weakened teams. It seems unlikely that Pep Guardiola will be that kind at the weekend.

If City hit top form you have to fear the worse for Swansea on Saturday and I cannot help thinking that the Welsh side’s Premier League campaign is not going to improve anytime soon.

Profit off the pitch

First of all, I want to look at the Swans transfer dealings in the summer. Swansea are a well-run Premier League club and they do not tend to spend what they do not have.

Let’s examine who joined the Swans this summer. Spanish strikers Borja Baston and Fernando Llorente joined the Swans, along with Dutch pair Leroy Fer and Mike van der Hoorn. Young defender Alfie Mawson also joined from Barnsley closer to the end of the transfer window.

Those players arrived at the club for a ball park figure of around £30million. By Premier League standards that is definitely not big spending. The Swans also sold four players in Ayew, Williams, Alberto Paloschi and Eder for over £40million.

That means the club are in profit in their transfer dealings, without even factoring in the massive television revenue the club will have received, just like every other top-flight club this summer. It seems like the Welsh club could have spent slightly more this summer.

Losers on the pitch

The club may have made a profit off the pitch, but they are looking a poorer team off the pitch without Ashley Williams and Andre Ayew.

The only new signing that has hit the ground running so far in south Wales has been Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer, who has netted three times for the Swans in their opening five Premier League games.

Anyway back to the departures. When Ashley Williams joined Everton earlier this summer for a reported fee of £11.9million some Swansea fans were saying that their captain was over the hill and his performances have not been great in recent years.

However, he has barely put a foot wrong in the Toffees excellent start to the season, while the Swans have collected just four points from their first five league games of the campaign.

In seasons gone by as a neutral, I would say Swansea would be fine at the back because they had Ashley Williams and he would lead the team to safety. They would collect enough points to avoid relegation because the Swans would keep a lot of clean sheets courtesy of Williams’s leadership skills.

However, now I look at that Swansea defence and wonder who will be that leader in the backline? Who will be the one that will put their body in where it hurts and it is difficult to identify anyone.

Ayew may not have been at the club long and may have been slightly mercurial but he definitely had skill and talent, which the Swans will miss this season. Unfortunately, new club West Ham will miss those attributes too, as the Ghana international is currently sidelined through injury.

Could Swansea be in for a battle for survival?

Swansea have been tipped to struggle in virtually all their Premier League campaigns but have not been relegated since their promotion to the top-flight under Brendan Rodgers in 2011.

The team from south Wales are currently odds of 3/1 to be relegated this season. Those odds makes them fourth favourites for the drop this season. The situation does not look great for the Welsh side.

If the team continues to struggle then it seems inevitable that a new boss will be brought in to replace Guidolin. The Swans hierarchy have been very shrewd with their hiring and firing of bosses in recent years. I am sure they know what they are doing when it comes to bosses.

At the moment you have to fear for Swansea and it all stems from the Welsh club putting profit before playing in the summer transfer window.

Will Swansea be in the relegation dogfight this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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