Swansea City boss Garry Monk may have lost some defense, but the way he’s loading up on offense almost makes it feel like a moot point.
Ecuador attacker Jefferson Montero has signed a four-year deal to join the Welsh side, making him the fifth new face to join Monk’s Swans this offseason.
Montero comes from Liga MX side Morelia, where he helped the club earn promotion with 10 goals over 63 matches since arriving in 2012. The 24-year-old has also been capped 43 times for Ecuador, scoring eight goals. He previously spent 2009-2012 in the Villarreal program, with loan spells at Levante and Betis.
[ RELATED: Better deal – Sigurdsson and cash or Vorm and Davies ]
Swansea just lost goalkeeper Michel Vorm and defender Ben Davies to Tottenham in a swap deal for creative force Gylfi Sigurdsson (and cash). And between Montero, Sigurdsson and French striker Bafetimbi Gomis, Swans are going to be able to move forward.
Of course it’s possible the new signings are all preludes to the departures of big-scoring Ivorian forward Wilfried Bony and mercurial English midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, but Monk has at-worst secured strong replacements in attack.
Swans have also added former loan forward Marvin Emnes and young Scottish back Stephen Kingsley.
The sheer number of midtable teams — Stoke City, Swansea, West Ham and Newcastle alone — making progress should make the competition much better than last season, when Manchester United, Newcastle and Southampton felt little heat from behind.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.
However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.
“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”
Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”
It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.