There are only 2 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Swansea.
Halfway through last season Swansea looked to be in trouble. The squad was apparently divided as they found themselves scrapping against relegation as well as, reportedly, with one another. The board decided to sack Michael Laudrup, one of the highest rated young managers in Europe, and gave player/coach, Garry Monk, the task of bringing calm to the club and avoiding the drop. They finished in a respectable 12th place but this was somewhat flattering considering how much they struggled and the Swans will be disappointed to have dropped three places from the previous season.
Monk did a decent job of steadying the ship and keeping Swansea in the top flight, but it will be interesting to see how he fares in his first full season as a manager. Needless to say he’s been dropped in at the deep-end and some believe that the task will prove too much for him at such an early stage of his managerial career.
Despite a disappointing and injury plagued last season, Michu needed replacing after moving to Napoli. Gylfi Sigurðsson has returned to The Liberty Stadium, a man who showed promise on loan two years ago but chose a permanent move to Tottenham over Swansea. He failed to find his feet in north London, but there is hope that the Icelandic midfielder can fulfill his potential this season and could be an astute transfer by Monk. Furthermore, Jefferson Montero is a player of real quality and showed his class at the World Cup with Ecuador. Signing such a player is a real statement of intent from Monk, as Montero has the ability to cause defences all sort of problems.
Who is tipped to join them?
Kyle Naughton has been tipped to link up with Monk’s men as defensive cover and has shown himself to be an able full-back on either side. Apart from this the rumour mill surrounding Swansea is rather quiet as they have already made some solid acquisitions.
Who should they sign?
Getting Naughton would be a good signing, but Swansea will certainly need at least one extra defender to bolster their ranks. A bid for relegated Norwich’s versatile Martin Olsson could be a good move for Monk and it wouldn’t be too expensive, either. Moreover, they have replaced goalkeeper Michel Vorm with Arsenal’s number 2 stopper Fabianski. The Pole has show himself to be a good shot-stopper but has also had a few moments of calamity which raise question marks over his ability to be Swansea’s first choice. Regardless, people are even less convinced by their other keeper Gerhard Tremmel, and therefore another goalkeeping addition would not be a bad idea.
Obviously holding on to Wilfried Bony will be the most important bit of business for Swansea. Losing their star striker would be a huge blow for their bid to push further up the table this season. He is a superb all-rounder who has shown that he can win the club points almost on his own. Though if the Ivorian does leave, they will certainly need to replace him with a similarly big signing. Relying solely on new signing Gomis to lead their front line would be too much of a gamble for The Swans.
Bony’s 16 goals last season were crucial in helping Swansea beat the drop, and he is clearly the most important player in their squad. He is incredible in the air, very strong as well as being quick and possessing great technical ability. He would get into most teams in the league, even in the top four, and Swansea will have to fight hard to keep hold of him. If they can achieve that and providing he can maintain the same great form of last season, he would make a huge difference to Swansea’s fortunes.
With a shaky looking defence there is a real worry that Swansea will simply concede too many goals this season. However, they have an attack full of pace and trickery, which should be enough to keep them in the league. That said, if Bony does stay at The Liberty, and their defence is strengthened, they could easily push further up the table. Expect Swansea to finish 15th.