After achieving promotion through the back door just twelve months ago, very few people expected Swansea to be a force in the top flight. In fact, the general consensus was for the Swans to suffer immediate relegation, so when they finished the campaign in a hugely respectable mid-table position it shocked many. Unfortunately, with such success comes some drawbacks and following his incredible work at the Liberty Stadium, manager Brendan Rodgers was appointed by Liverpool. It now remains to be seen whether Rodgers’ replacement, Danish legend Michael Laudrup, can have the same effect on the Welsh outfit. With most bookies having the Swans as fifth favourites for the drop, many believe that it could be a campaign that involves many struggles.
After lighting up the Championship with their exquisite style of football during the 2010/11 campaign, few people tipped the Swans to experience any sort of success last term. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side took all the plaudits, passing their way to a successful season as they finished the term in 11th place. Such a performance linked many of Rodgers’ squad with moves away, although ultimately it was the manager who was to be poached first. Despite rejecting the advances of Liverpool initially, the former Reading boss couldn’t resist and was eventually appointed in early June. It took around two weeks for the Swans to appoint a replacement and following his work abroad, Michael Laudrup was appointed as the successor.
With Laudrup looking to bring his own ideas to the Liberty Stadium, Swansea have completed transfers for four players this summer. It would be fair to say that supporters have little idea on the quality of two of them, with Spanish duo Michu and Chico arriving from Rayo Vollecano and Genoa respectively. There is slightly more optimism about the loan signing of Jonathan de Guzman, with the midfielder joining for the rest of the season from Villareal. The 27-year-old has forged a fantastic reputation abroad over the years and after scoring countless goals from the midfield positions, Swans supporters could be in for a real treat. The final transfer was Curtis Obeng from Wrexham although it is widely thought that the defender has been brought in for the future.
Unfortunately, as well as losing Rodgers, Swansea have also seen one of their key men depart. There have been rumours linking Rodgers to many of his former players since his departure, yet he has only won the race to sign one of them after recruiting Joe Allen for £15m. With Allen being such a key figure for the Swans last term, new manager Laudrup certainly has a big job in replacing him and is tipped to dip into the transfer market to sign a direct replacement. Other players to depart the Liberty Stadium did so at the end of their contracts, with Joe Walsh, Ferrie Bodde, Casey Thomas and Scott Donnelly all leaving the club on free transfers.
In terms of pre-season form, Swansea have shown plenty of signs of improvement following their opening defeat to Colorado Rapids. As they continued their tour of the US, the managed a victory over Ventura County Fusion and a 2-2 draw with San Jose Earthquakes. However, it has been their form away from the tour which has really alerted people. The Swans beat Championship outfit Blackpool 4-2 and Michael Laudrup will have been pleased to see that Danny Graham looks set for another successful campaign after he grabbed a hat-trick in that victory. Their most recent result was also impressive and even though the club were pitted against a strong Bundesliga outfit in Stuttgart, they still managed to strike a 3-3 draw.
Following on from the above, we think Swansea could experience several more difficulties this time around. With that being said, the Swans have been renowned for their taste in managers and we do think that Michael Laudrup has what it takes to keep them in the Premier League. The signing of Jonathan De Guzman is certainly an inspiring one and while the club have lost Joe Allen and several players that spent the season on loan at the Liberty Stadium last term, Laudrup is likely to bring more reinforcements in. Bearing this in mind, we are not tipping an 11th place finish for the club like last year, but instead a lower bottom half placing.