Swansea City 2017-18 Season Preview: Can the Swans learn their
lessons from last season?

Swansea City will be hoping that their 2017/18 season will be less stressful than last year’s campaign, when after months of suffering they actually ended up in 15th place.

This was after most of the season was spent in the relegation zone, and their third manager of the season, Paul Clement, was able to steer the Welsh side to safety.

The club made several mistakes over the course of the season, and not repeating those mistakes will be key in the side enjoying a much better season in 2017/18.

The Paul Clement factor

Swansea had three different managers last season. Clement, Francesco Guidolin and... err.. Bob Bradley.

  Points p/g Goals scored p/g Goals conceded p/g Chances created p/g
Guidolin 0.57 0.86 1.71 9.14
Bradley 0.73 1.36 2.64 7.55
Clement 1.53 1.26 1.36 7.05

Ignoring the Bradley goals scored anomaly, Clement certainly performed the better of the three managers.

His Swansea side won 1.53 points per game, which totalled over a 38-game season comes to 58 points, which would be enough for eighth place, and just three points behind Everton in seventh.

Now, that’s not to say that Swansea are finishing near that position this season, but that Clement was a smart appointment and with a full pre-season, he could be the man to take Swansea forward.

Clement’s most impressive feat was stabilising that calamitous defence featured under Bradley. He found a somewhat sturdy defence consisting of Martin Olsson, Alfie Mawson, Federico Fernandez and Kyle Naughton towards the end of the season.

Enigma surrounding Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson has been all-but an Everton player for what seems like an eternity now, despite remaining a Swansea player and the clubs still appear no closer to agreeing on a fee for the player at the time of writing.

However it is still expected that Sigurdsson will sign for Everton for a fee of around £50 million. How Swansea reinvest that money will likely decide whether they finish the season in or out of the relegation places.

The main targets appear to be West Brom’s Nacer Chadli and Las Palmas’ Jonathan Vieira. Either would be good options, but Vieira especially looks like he would fit well at the top of the diamond.

Vieira has a €30 million release clause, which still leaves Swansea with some money left over with to improve the squad.

More firepower going forward could be necessary, as a 32-year-old Fernando Llorente will miss the first few games of the season after missing the entirety of pre-season, and has been linked with a move away himself.

Tammy Abraham looks very promising, especially with 23 league goals last season, but he is only 19 and has played a total of 53 Premier League minutes.

Jordan Ayew looks set to start the season up front alongside Abraham, and while he has impressed in a Swansea shirt, only scored once in 865 minutes last season, and seven in 2353 minutes last time he was in the Premier League with Aston Villa

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Learning from mistakes

Swansea haven’t invested well over the past few years. Last season they sold top scorer Andre Ayew to West Ham and club captain Ashley Williams to Everton without signing direct replacements.

Llorente ended up scoring a similar number to Ayew, but the lack of goals from players not named Llorente or Sigurdsson really did not help the cause.

Fortunately Mawson progressed way beyond anyone could have hoped when he was signed from Barnsley in late August.

A defence consisting of Neil Taylor, Jordi Amat, Fernandez and Naughton was not good enough and it was reflected in the huge number of goals conceded before Clement was brought in.

They recruited well in January, bringing in Olsson, Ayew and Tom Carroll who all became part of the regular starting side but this cannot happen again.

Fernandez and Naughton could definitely be improved upon, while a clear-out of the side’s wingers is necessary, but still looks unlikely.

Clement uses a formation without wingers, but whether that was born out of necessity or not is unclear.

Nathan Dyer was handed a new four-year contract last summer, after he was deemed surplus to the squad the season before and the contract takes up years 28, 29, 30 and 31 of his career.

Wayne Routledge signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal in January. Routledge was 32 when he put pen to paper, and described the deal as a “no-brainer” for him. These are not smart deals.

Those two look unlikely to leave the club, but Modou Barrow has joined Reading and Jefferson Montero looks set to follow him out of the club providing he can pass a medical. 

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New faces bring optimism

Abraham is an exciting loan, and could go on to be a very special player. Unfortunately Swansea only have him when he’s 19 and 20, but he can score a lot of goals this season especially if Llorente tails off.

Roque Mesa was signed for £11 million, while Jack Cork was sold for a fee slightly lower. This is fantastic business from the club. Mesa looks the real deal and the Welsh side may have finally found the heir to Leon Britton.

Erwin Mulder was signed on a free from Heerenveen and becomes Swansea’s fifth goalkeeper signed in the past three summers.

Swansea have plenty more incoming transfers to come though, after Clement declared that their transfers have been put on hold until Sigurdsson’s future has been resolved. 

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What can Swansea aim for?

Everything depends on Sigurdsson. There’s a chance he could stay, Swansea add one or two more players and they build on a 15th placed finish.

More likely though, Sigurdsson will leave and Swansea replace him. Llorente will likely have a down year too, being 32 and missing pre-season, so that’s 24 league goals from last season that the club are unlikely to get a similar return from in 2017/18.

With their recent track record, Swansea fans can be understandably pessimistic about the club replacing Sigurdsson.

Whoever is brought in now will have missed pre-season, meaning there’s a decent chance of a slow start. Conditioning in a lot of factors, should Swansea repeat their 15th placed finish from last season, fans could walk away quietly happy.