Why Swansea City Had A Good Summer Despite The Departure Of Gylfi Sigurdsson
Swansea City’s transfer window can be termed as a relative success, despite them losing a couple of key players this summer. After having managed to avoid relegation last season, with new manager Paul Clement sparking a fightback in the second half of the season, the Welsh club were expected to strengthen their ranks and build upon the solid end to the previous campaign.
They have managed to bring in some exciting players to the squad, including one deal that could prove to be a coup of the summer. Before we get into how Swansea fared in the recently concluded transfer window, let’s take a look at the business they were able to complete this summer.
Outs: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente, Jack Cork, Bafetimbi Gomis, Modou Barrow, Stephen Kingsley, Mark Birighitti, Franck Tabanou, Liam Shepherd, Marvin Emnes
Loan Departures: Jefferson Montero, Jordi Amat, Oliver McBurnie, Borja Baston, Matt Grimes
The most high-profile exit from the club this summer was the departure of club Player of the Year for the last two seasons – Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Iceland international joined Everton for a whopping £45million, which is the record for the highest fee that Swansea have ever received for a player.
It was followed by the sale of another of their best players, Fernando Llorente, who moved to Tottenham Hotspur on the deadline day for £15million. Midfielder Jack Cork was also allowed to move to Burnley for £10million, while the fringe players in the squad – the likes of Modou Barrow, Stephen Kingsley, Marvin Emnes etc., were all allowed to leave.
Winger Jefferson Montero and defender Jordi Amat were loaned out to La Liga sides Getafe and Real Betis respectively, while Borja Baston too, returned to Spain on loan to Malaga. Promising young forward Oliver McBurnie was allowed to join second division outfit Barnsley on loan, while midfielder Matt Grimes was sent to League One club Northampton Town.
Ins: Tammy Abraham (Loan), Renato Sanches (Loan), Roque Mesa, Sam Clucas, Wilfried Bony, Erwin Mulder
Swansea kicked off the summer with the early capture of up and coming talent Tammy Abraham on loan from Premier League champions Chelsea and followed it up with the capture of midfielder Roque Mesa from La Liga club Las Palmas. Goalkeeper Erwin Mulder was signed on a free transfer, while midfielder Sam Clucas was brought in from Championship side Hull City for a fee of £16.5million.
There were a couple of really brilliant deals completed by the Welsh club on the transfer deadline day as Swansea signed Portuguese midfield sensation Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich, before completing a deal with Manchester City to welcome back Wilfried Bony for £12million.
How Did They Fare?
No matter how much they recouped from the sale of Sigurdsson, his departure will hurt the Swans a great deal. The Icelandic playmaker had developed into the best player for the Welsh club in the past couple of years and was one of the main reasons why they were able to avoid relegation last season. But, with the big clubs coming calling, the player’s wish to leave and the amount that was on offer, it made sense that they let him go.
Llorente too, in his lone season at the club, had grown into an influential figure, scoring 15 goals in 35 games last season. However, it was again the case of big clubs coming in and the club making good profit from a player who is 32 years of age.
With the number of options in the middle of the park, allowing Jack Cork to leave also made sense, while the rest of the fringe players needed to be moved on, to free up the wage bills. However, the departure of Stephen Kingsley does leave them thinly-equipped in the left-back department, with Martin Olsson being the only recognised option in that position.
The retention of Kyle Bartley, amid serious interest from several Championship clubs was another positive for the club, following the former Arsenal defender’s stellar season in the second-tier last term with Leeds United. He might be down with a serious injury early into the season, but once fit, he will play a major role for the Swans.
The quality of the players that have come in though, is exceptional. Abraham was slaying the defences in the second division last season, on loan at Bristol City and has started off strongly this season, scoring twice in four games. Roque Mesa might not have played a lot yet, but the 28-year old is the rightful heir to club captain Leon Britton and we will see him grow in influence as the season progresses.
The capture of Sam Clucas is another very good piece of business, given that the 26-year old was one of Hull City’s best players last season. The Englishman will add strength in depth to the midfield and will grow into a key player. The return of Bony is also a good deal, despite his faltering form. The 28-year old is returning to where it all began for him in England and coming back to familiar surroundings should get him firing back again. If he finds his goal-scoring touch back, Llorente may not be missed as much.
However, the transfer that takes the cake for Swansea is the signing of Renato Sanches, even if it’s just for a season. The 20-year old was sought by many other big clubs throughout the summer, but manager Clement put his connections with Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti to good use, to land the midfielder. He might have had a difficult season in Germany, but his quality is undoubted and regular playing time away from all the scrutiny and knit-picking could get him back to his best.
Signing a direct, like-for-like replacement for Sigurdsson would have made it a very good transfer window for the Swans. But, despite the loss of the Icelander, the fans can be quite pleased with the business that the club has done and the quality of players that they have been able to bring in.