The Transfer Window
As we all finally emerge from our festive, sherry-soaked hangovers, the transfer window is fully open. Brendan Rodgers now needs to grab what new talent he can, before that window is slammed shut, jamming his little fingers.
It's not a new topic: The Swans are struggling with a lack of fire-power, so the main outcome of this transfer window has to be the acquisition of a new striker. Currently Stephen Dobbie seems better suited to the centre forward role as opposed to sole striker as he can create brilliant opportunities, but finds it hard to finish them. Craig Beattie has produced some great goals (vs. Ipswich a few weeks back – I likened it to Fabio Quagliarella's World Cup super chip), but again, isn't the 20-goal-a-season striker Swansea need. Jermaine Easter has finally scored, but doesn't look the complete package. Elsewhere Shefki Kuqi will probably go (a nice guy, as many seem to think, but no longer fits in with the speed of Swansea's game) and Gorka Pintado... well, I was never really a fan, but it seems that he is off to AEK Larnaca on loan anyway, and probably won't return (all the best Gorka, may goals come naturally to you in Cyprus).
So a striker is still needed, but who? Luke Moore is in Brendan's cross-hairs with an offer being placed for him to join on loan, but at £20,000 a week will he be able to do the job needed or will he be another “three-goals-a-season” striker? His track record isn't amazing for a front man; he scored a meagre 5 goals in 47 appearances for West Brom (thanks Wikipedia) and, more recently, 4 goals for Derby out of 13 games. If he turns out to be another Frank Nouble (“who?” you cry), which I suspect he might, it will be a backwards step for Rodgers and his men.
Meanwhile, other rumours include bringing Marvin Emnes back or trying out Leroy Lita (Middlesbrough), which both seem more feasible than the Sturridge, Vela and Gudjohnsen rumours at the moment.
A different option could well be to move Scott Sinclair to the striker position and look at buying / long-loaning a new winger. Sinclair is the current top goalscorer, who can create and (though not recently) finish what he makes. With Sinclair upfront and Dyer on the wing, along with a new, equally speedy winger on the field, the opposition won't know what is coming at them! Just an idea.
As I mentioned earlier, Pintado is leaving and Kuqi will probably join him. Ashley Williams is on the radar for a handful of big clubs, but despite his agent insisting he won't leave until the summer (that's only if Swansea don't achieve their promotion target), will Premier League interest in this transfer window prove too tempting? He seems committed enough to Swansea, so he will stay. I am sure. When have I ever been wrong?
The FA Cup
This Saturday will see the Swans play Colchester at the Liberty Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup. Taking a quick look at the odds (Paddypower.com) Swansea are 150/1 to win! Very generous. Worth a pound? To the betting man (much like myself) I would usually say go for it! I've wasted so much betting on Pintado to score in the past, a pound on Swansea to win the FA Cup at 150/1 is a pound worth gambling. Or is it?
Swansea have the power (especially if they get a new striker / winger) to win it. Chances are the "big name" clubs have the Premier League, Champions League and Carling Cup to concentrate on, so they won't field strong teams, giving the Swans prime opportunity to pounce! However, taking a step back, I see that this is probably the case for Swansea too. With such a big prize at stake, chasing promotion to the Premier League is, and rightly so, the priority, so all key players must be kept fit for the next twenty League matches, ready for the final push. The FA Cup is just a series of games where the B-team will get a much needed run around.
This isn't to say that the Swans won't get far. Despite putting out a weakened team on Saturday (its bound to happen), they should still beat Colchester with ease (3-0 to the Swans is 10/1, which IS worth a pound). Where next? Well it'll be round four and, if they draw another lower league or Championship team, there's nothing to say they can't proceed a further round. If, however, they find themselves up against a Premier League side - no matter if it's Wolves or Man United - Rodgers will probably field another weakened side and flop out. Disappointing? Slightly. It would be great to see the Swans perform well and go as far as they are actually capable of (beating Wigan could have happened back in October if they were at full strength).
Now the “supporters” who will probably boo the Swans off the park if they get knocked out of the FA Cup so early on have the argument that “we wanted to see a big name team down the Liberty for a change!” Although this may be true, if they glance ahead to next season, Swansea will be constantly playing the big name teams when they get to the Premier League. This is why the FA Cup isn't important this season. This is why patience, as Brendan Rodgers has called for many times, is so necessary. I'm saving my pound.