With less than two weeks remaining of the January transfer window, and despite three new recruits already arriving through the doors of the Liberty Stadium, it is painfully obvious that the squad is still not up to scratch.
Years of poor recruitment and a year of mismanagement have combined in just the right way to create the perfect mess which currently sits bottom of the Premier League, conceding an average of 2.3 goals a game. And no, unfortunately, Luciano Narsingh, Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson won’t solve Swansea’s, long, long, long list of a problems on their own.
Dear Huw Jenkins, Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, listen up and ready the cheque book because here are the three, yes three, positions you still need to strengthen if you want Swansea to survive this nightmare of a season.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. 2.3 goals a game. In fact, since Francesco Guidolin was sacked, the average is 2.7 goals a game, but hey, who’s counting? More damning perhaps that the most goals the Swans have ever conceded in a Premier League season is 54. Already this season, this side has conceded 49.
It’s clear that loss of, and lack of replacement of, captain, leader and all around legend Ashley Williams, has had a massive impact on the Swansea defence. A settled centre half partnership has yet to be found, with Jordi Amat, Mike Van Der Hoorn, Federico Fernandez and Alfie Mawson all failing to cement their spot at the heart of the leaky defence.
In way of options for this loud, commanding leadership at the back, the only names touted so far have been the ever so reliable duo of Mamadou Sakho and James Collins. Yay. Sadly, if the track record of recent recruitment is anything to by, then I wouldn’t expect a list currently holding any weight with Commander-in-Chief, Huw Jenkins, to hold much more promise.
Tom Carroll may have been signed from Tottenham not even 48 hours ago, but Swansea still need another centre midfielder. Ideally, a tough player with, surprisingly enough, a commanding presence in midfield. Spotting a trend yet?
Far too often this season there seems to be a lack of fight throughout the squad, but the place where it matters most is the midfield. Although some performances have picked up in recent weeks, generally, it’s not been good enough or tough enough, someone needs to come in with a bit of bite.
Players like Ki Sung-Yueng and Leroy Fer rarely seem to have a defensive bone in their bodies and have far too often, um, wimped, out of tackles. Other options include Jack Cork, whose form has dipped immensely this season, Leon Britton who really shouldn’t have to be relied on at his age and Jay Fulton who only has a handful of Premier League appearances under his belt.
Maybe the best midfielder at Swansea is a 43-year-old Claude Makelele.
Much like with the centre back, there haven’t been many links for a player of this type. A player along the lines of Vicente Iborra of Sevilla could add some much-needed bite to midfield and help to protect the shaky defence.
While 23 goals don’t seem that bad for a side sitting bottom of the Premier League, it is worrying when you take into account that 35% of that total during two bizarre games (Swansea 5-4 Crystal Palace and Swansea 3-0 Sunderland) then the picture becomes a little bleaker.
This is perhaps not surprising when you consider the two wingers who started against Arsenal last week were Wayne Routledge, whose legs appears to have given up on him, and Nathan Dyer, a player who spent more time at right back than our actual right back and the player who kick started Leicester’s title winning campaign, I think.
What’s perhaps more worrying is that the two best wingers at the club, Jefferson Montero and Modou Barrow, while exceptional on their day, also have absolutely no product. They can run all day, but can they put in a cross? Can they buggery. This lack of quality in the final ball has seen Gylfi Sigurdsson pushed out wide far too many times this season.
Luciano Narsingh has already been brought in to add some much need creativity to the attack which has provided very little in the way of chances for strikers Fernando Llorente, Borja Baston and Oli McBurnie.
In way of links, former Chelsea man Gael Kakuta has been touted as an option as well as Young Boys winger Yoric Ravet, who already has 13 assists to his name this season.
These are the three key areas which Swansea absolutely must strength this January in order to stay afloat. Of course, more signings wouldn’t go amiss to bolster a squad lacking in, well, talent.
So, Huw, Jason and Steve, I’d get to work if I was you, because digging the Swans out of this mess isn’t going to be an easy task.