Swansea are a side who have been regarded as one of the more stable outfits in the division over the years, although last term saw the club experience more turbulent times. Just like most clubs in the bottom half, the Swans were constantly looking over their shoulders and it wasn’t until the latter stages that their divisional status was confirmed.
Following on from their close shave, the bookies seem to think that it could be a similarly difficult campaign this time around. While the club are by no means favourites for the drops, odds of 4/1 suggest that they could be in the thick of it if things don’t go to plan.
What happened last season?
Having invested heavily in his squad over the summer, the general consensus was that Michael Laudrup was set to embark on another progressive season with the Swans. He himself had a superb reputation and had apparently attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Real Madrid.
As such, when the Swans started to experience some poor form, cracks began to show. Rumours were rife of a rift between Laudrup and the Swans’ hierarchy and this eventually led to the Dane’s departure. His replacement was a surprise to many, with defender Garry Monk being handed the reins in an interim capacity before being upgraded to the permanent position. It would be fair to say that Monk experienced some highs and plenty of lows during his time in charge, although having masterminded a 12th place finish he will be looking to build on that this time around.
Has it been a busy summer?
In comparison to a lot of clubs in the division, it could be said that Swansea have been much busier in the transfer market. Monk has brought in no fewer than seven new players, although it will be interesting to see just how many prove successful as some of them do lack that crucial top flight experience.
Perhaps the two most impressive purchases revolve around Middlesbrough striker Marvin Emnes and Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Both players have actually represented the club in the past and it could be argued that this was the most successful periods of their careers. Both have also proved on numerous occasions that they have goals in them, so such recruits could really boost the Swans’ attacking prowess.
In other news, Monk moved to strengthen between the sticks by bringing in Lukasz Fabianski on a free transfer from Arsenal. While Fabianski has never managed to crack the Arsenal first team, he still does have a very good reputation in the goalkeeping world and will prove to be a more than adequate replacement for the departing Michel Vorm.
The other purchases are of something of an unknown quantity and this could be where Swansea’s season hinges. Bafetimbi Gomis has the potential to be a real handful following his 62 goals for Lyon in 172 appearances, while another foreign recruit in Jefferson Montero has a very good international record for Ecuador and could be another impressive capture. In other news, Raheem Hanley and Stephen Kinglsey have joined from Blackburn and Falkirk respectively and it remains to be seen if they successfully make the step up to the Premier League.
There’s no doubt that some of the above purchases will have stretched the club’s purse strings, and this has meant that a number of players have been forced to leave the club. The club managed to offset the loss of Michel Vorm to Tottenham, but whether or not they are able to do the same following Ben Davies’ £10m switch to Spurs remains to be seen. Davies made the full back position his own last term and as the figure above highlights, his reputation is impressive at this level.
Perhaps the most surprising exit focussed around Michu though. Following such a stunning debut season in which he bagged 22 goals, hopes were high for a similar outcome last year. However, following a succession of injuries he was only manage to score on two occasions and the club have opted to cash in, with the striker joining Napoli on loan in a deal which is likely to be turned into a permanent one.
What’s the prediction?
It would be fair to say that Garry Monk has initiated wholesale changes at the Liberty Stadium this summer and some of the men who have played a significant part in the club’s success over the years have been moved on. He has replaced them with several unknown quantities, although we have a good feeling over the likes of Gomis and Montero who have proven themselves on the international stage. Bearing this in the mind we think the bookies are spot on with their predictions and tip another bottom half finish.