With the transfer window in full swing, ESPNFC's Swansea blogger, Max Hicks, discusses how Garry Monk's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.
IN -- Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough, 1.5 million pounds), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, free), Lukasz Fabianski (Arsenal, free), Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk, undisclosed)
OUT -- Michu (Napoli, loan), Leroy Lita (released), David N'Gog (released), Daniel Alfei (Northampton Town, loan), Jernade Meade (released), Darnel Situ (released), Gwion Edwards (Crawley Town, undisclosed)
SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW ASSESSMENTS
PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal | Aston Villa | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Hull City | Leicester City | Liverpool | Man City | Man Utd | Newcastle | QPR | Southampton | Stoke | Sunderland | Swansea | Tottenham | West Brom | West Ham
Swansea are an anomaly in the Premier League -- a debt-free club that continues to turn a profit every year. The past season's Europa League run will have added to this season's kitty, and the likely sale of left-back Ben Davies ought to bring in 10 million pounds. While another record-breaking deal like last summer's 12-million-pound splurge on Wilfried Bony is unlikely, manager Garry Monk will have sufficient funds -- around 20 million pounds or so -- to rebuild his squad. If Bony is sold, then the club have another 20 million pounds or more on top but will have to spend a good chunk of that income on buying an adequate replacement. That's no easy task.
Rate your business so far
5/10. There's still a lot of business to be conducted, and the hope is that by the close of the window, the Swans will have a strong, complete squad, rather than a work-in-progress. The addition of Gomis was a big plus, but it does not single-handedly compensate for the loss of Michu and the likely impending departure of Pablo Hernandez. Goalkeeper Fabianski is a good addition but is not an upgrade on Michel Vorm. Emnes is a good squad player but not much more than that. Rather than being able to add two or three pieces to an otherwise fully functioning squad, Monk is trying to execute a full-scale rebuild in one summer (and in a World Cup year to boot). The exodus of former manager Michael Laudrup's Spanish signings will likely continue, and the Swans next season will depend on Monk's chosen replacements. Jefferson Montero and a marquee midfield signing would be solid next steps.
Who should be sold?
A lot of the pruning has already been done, although the Swans would have arguably been better off keeping some of those who have left or are likely to leave. It seems certain Jose Canas and Alejandro Pozuelo are as good as gone, and Monk might want to seriously consider any outside interest in estranged midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung. The Swans already have a more dynamic midfield presence in Jonjo Shelvey, and because neither Shelvey nor Ki is particularly gifted in the defensive third, it would be more prudent for Monk to sell the South Korean and invest the spoils in a proper defensive midfielder. Ki's stand-out performances for Sunderland this past season and his World Cup cameo ought to temporarily inflate the midfielder's value.
Who should be signed?
Montero has been a long-term target -- his Wikipedia page already lists him as a Swansea player. The Ecuadorian is a classic, pacey winger, and Bony provides an obvious target for Montero's crosses. The asking price -- a mere four million pounds -- will be more than agreeable to the prudent Swans, assuming Montero passes his medical. At the time of writing, there is also talk of former Swans loan player Gylfi Sigurdsson re-joining the team from Spurs, this time as a permanent signing, and possibly as part of the Ben Davies deal. Sigurdsson would fill the advanced playmaker role about to be vacated by Pablo, and he boasts better shooting ability and stronger hamstrings than the Spaniard.
Problem solving: What do you need?
Right-back is starting to look suspect, but the real weakness is in defensive midfield. Canas was brought in this past summer ostensibly to spell Leon Britton but was only ever a pale imitation -- far too flimsy and only able to concentrate for 45 minutes. Monk might spring some tactical changes this season, but if he uses the established 4-2-3-1 for any number of matches, then he needs an enforcer in the deep midfield, someone who actually scares opponents and can form a back-three when the fullbacks are caught upfield. It might seem an unpopular idea among Swansea fans, but Gary Medel would be perfect, and he can play centre-back too. The Chilean put on a defensive clinic at the World Cup, but with a high price tag and rumoured interest from Inter Milan, he might be out of reach.