Connect in the back of the net

Last season was a mixed one for Swansea City.

Starting the season off incredibly poorly, gaining only 4 points from their first 7 games, Francesco Guidolin was replaced by Bob Bradley. To say that Bradley’s reign at the Swans was awful is an understatement, as he only gained 8 points from a possible 33.

Unsurprisingly, Bradley was sacked on the 27th of December. Then, the Swans appointed Paul Clement.

For years, Clement has been the assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Europe’s biggest clubs, including Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG and most recently Bayern Munich.

Clement’s appointment could have gone either way, as his only run as a manager was at Derby County, where he was unfairly pushed out of the club. But, Swansea made a resurgence under Clement, with memorable games away at Liverpool and Manchester United.

Now with a pre-season under his belt, Clement is making his mark on the team, yet many pundits and journalists have tipped Swansea to go down this season, but do they have what it takes to survive this season?

 

Losing Sigurdsson

Without a shadow of a doubt, losing Gylfi Sigurdsson is a massive blow for Swansea.

Sigurdsson was the talisman for Swansea last season, scoring 9 and assisting 13 in the Premier League, and it seemed that Sigurdsson almost kept Swansea up on his own.

The way he struck a good partnership with Fernando Llorente up top and assisted him was key to the Swans’ survival last season. Not to mention his free-kick accuracy and his range of passing.

Scarily, for Swansea City fans, is when you take Sigurdsson out of the squad, there seems to be no real star in the Swansea team.

Yes, you’ve got Fernando Llorente, but his injury record and his mobility is a real problem for Swansea.

You’ve also got players like Wayne Routledge, Jefferson Montero and Leroy Fer, but none of them have the consistency that Sigurdsson had, but there is a positive to losing Sigurdsson.

 

They have money to spend

By selling Sigurdsson, Swansea now have £45 million to spend in this window. But, Swansea have made some decent signings already this window.

The signing of Roque Mesa from Las Palmas has gone under the radar this summer. Mesa had a wonderful season last season and was linked with many of the top clubs in Spain, so it’s a real coup for Swansea that they’ve signed a player of his calibre.

They’ve also signed Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea.

Abraham had a breakout season in the Championship last season with Bristol City, scoring 23 goals in 41 appearances. Having Abraham up front for Swansea will provide a different challenge for the opposition, instead of having a target man like Llorente or Jordan Ayew up front.

Yet, Swansea are keen to spend the Sigurdsson money quickly on three new signings.

First of all, they are looking at Nacer Chadli. After his average time at Spurs, Chadli moved to West Brom last season, and had a good season with the Baggies, scoring 5 and assisting 5.

Obviously, Chadli’s stats aren’t as good as Sigurdsson’s, but he will add a creative spark to Swansea’s play. Plus, he’s had a few years in the Premier League and is familiar to how Premier League defenders are, so this would be a good signing for the Swans.

They are also looking at Wilfried Bony, a man who is familiar to Swansea. Bony was a fantastic signing for Swansea from Vitesse at the start of the 2013/14 season, and in 54 games he scored 25 goals.

Then halfway through the 2014/15 season, Bony moved to Manchester City, and his career as hit a bit of a stumbling block. He hasn’t really had a chance at the Etihad as he was always behind the likes of Aguero, Dzeko and Iheanacho.

This cumulated in a loan move to Stoke last season, where he disappointed. Maybe, a move back to South Wales will rejuvenate the Ivorian striker.

 

Paul Clement

Another reason why I believe that Swansea will survive this season is the fact that they have Paul Clement at the helm.

Clement is one of the most promising England managers and it’s fantastic that he has a chance to show his qualities in the Premier League.

Clement, has I’ve mentioned before, is that he’s gained a lot of experience from Carlo Ancelotti, and this is a big advantage for Swansea.

Clement will have taught many tactical points from Ancelotti, and I believe that we’re starting to see Clement use a bit of Ancelotti’s skills in Swansea’s playing style. They are organised in the way they play up and the way they defend.

In addition to this, Clement is a real player’s manager. he never throws his players under the bus and heavily criticises them after a heavy or bad, and the players always seem to play for the manager.

We saw this in many Premier League games last season, where Clement celebrated with the players on the touchline and showed his passion at the end of the matches, especially against Everton and Stoke.

 

The Verdict

Although Gylfi Sigurdsson will leave a massive void in the squad, I do believe that Swansea will stay up this season. With the signings they’ve made and the signings that they will make, it will inject new life into the Swansea squad.

Yet Swansea had a good squad already, with the likes of Alfie Mawson, Lukasz Fabianski and Tom Carroll, but it’s taken a manager like Paul Clement to get the best out of the squad.

And if Swansea can keep a hold of Paul Clement and the rest of their squad, they will have enough to survive this season.  

 

Written by Sion Misra

Follow Sion on Twitter @sionmisra

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