Paul Clement did just about everything he could with the roster he had in 2016/17 to help Swansea stave off relegation from the Premier League, and now in his first full season at the Liberty Stadium, the manager will have a bit more of a stamp on his squad.
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Despite the ongoing talks of Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s exit from the club, the Swans head into the new PL season with several new faces, including Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who could prove to be of great assistance in the attacking third.
Best, worst case scenarios – Realistically, the Swans are a mid-table side if all things go according to plan for Paul Clement and Co. That being said, the Swans manager did a solid job last season after the club faced adversity and helped the team stave off relegation, which for awhile looked inevitable.
Much of the club’s success will hinge on the status of Gylfi Sigurdsson, who continues to have strong interest from Everton. If the Icelandic international is poached from Swansea it could prove to be a massive gap leaving the squad scrambling in the midfield, so this is certainly a story that must be kept an eye on closely.
Best possible XI is…
Naughton — Fernandez — Mawson — Olsson
Fer — Mesa — Carroll
Ayew — Llorente — Abraham
The additions of Tammy Abraham and Roque Mesa could present strong signings for the Swans moving up the pitch, but the biggest questions remain for the team at the back. The club conceded 70 goals in the PL last season, the second-most of any squad in England’s top flight. Paul Clement will need to get things sorted out defensively if they hope to outlast the bottom three once again.
[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ]
Transfers In: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea, Loan), Edwin Mulder (Heerenveen, Free), Kees de Boer (Ajax, Youth), Roque Mesa (Las Palmas, $14 million), Cian Harries (Coventry City, Undisclosed), Arnór Guðjohnsen (Breiðablik UBK, Youth), Mark Walsh (Finn Harps, Youth), Jayden Reid (Manchester United, Youth)
Transfers Out: Bafetimbi Gomis ($2.7 million, Galatasaray), Borja Baston (loan, Malaga), Jordi Amat (loan, Real Betis), Jack Cork ($13 million, Burnley), Gerhard Tremmel (Released), Marvin Emnes (Released), Owain Jones (Released).
— 15th in Premier League
— FA Cup 3rd Round (Lost to Hull City)
— League Cup 3rd Round (Lost to Manchester City)
— Fernando Llorente finished top goalscorer (15)
Star player: Gylfi Sigurdsson — Since arriving at the Liberty Stadium, Sigurdsson has been everything the Swans could want and more as a driving force in the team’s attack. The Icelandic has hit double-digit goals scored in all competitions the past two seasons, which is something he hadn’t previously done since his time at Reading. Everyone knows losing this man would be a massive blow to Swansea’s hopes of remaining in the PL next season, so the supporters and squad alike will surely be holding their breath.
Coaches’ Corner: Paul Clement — The 45-year-old enters his first full season managing in the Premier League, and luckily for Clement he’ll be in a slightly less difficult position than he was thrust into a season ago. While the club wasn’t very active in the transfer window, the addition of Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea could be a solid lift to the club’s attack. Clement proved his mental fortitude after coming in to replace Bob Bradley and a struggling Swans side last season, and thus far, he’s been everything the club could want.
PST predicts: As mentioned earlier, this is a Swans team that didn’t add a ton of players during the transfer window, which isn’t completely unexpected for the club. However, this is still a side that can manage to finish similarly to what it did a season ago (15th) if all things go properly. The team has shown it’s capable of playing good possession soccer, but much of that success could be hinged on Gylfi Sigurdsson availability. Ultimately, Swansea will probably last another season in the PL. It may not be the prettiest sight, but Paul Clement showed in 2016/17 that he can rally his troops even when the going gets tough.