One thing is certain: the Swansea squad we enjoyed watching last season will be considerably different in August. After a quiet blogging week (apart from the podcast), here is my little catch up on who's in and out, and what still needs strengthening.
Let's face it; with Borini gone, Swansea have limited quality striker options. I guess you could class Dobbie as a good striker, but he does too well in the attacking midfield role to change back now. This leaves Beattie, Pintado (he's back!) and Moore and none of these can confidently do the job. Rodgers clearly understood that a new face up front was needed, with the capture of Danny Graham for £3.5million last week (my mini blog on him is here). Being the top scorer in the Championship with Watford last season is proof that he can score goals when needed, and I am sure he will make a great addition to the team.
There are refreshed rumours of Marvin Emnes possibly coming back. This seems a decent move, as Emnes spent time with Swansea last season (scoring the goal against Cardiff... did you need reminding?). He knows how Swansea want to play and would fit in well I'm sure. Middlesbrough won't be keen to let their front man go, but it's definitely worth a move for him.
In midfield, Darren Pratley has left the club (with an alleged eye for Bolton). It seemed inevitable that he'd go after the season he had with the Swans. The whole “refusing to sign a new contract” situation was one massive hint that his future lied elsewhere; a case that saw him booed by some Swans fans earlier in the season. I always liked Pratley, with his keen eye for goal and solidity on the field (and impact from the bench in the later stages of the season). Good luck to him, but with good depth in the midfield already, he won't be too much of a loss.
Brendan Rodgers has already been looking to fill Pratley's position with Marcos Senna. Even if nothing comes from the talks, it's great for club spirits to be linked with a player of this quality. Leon Britton and Marcos Senna in the centre – a wonderful (if slightly unbelievable) pairing. The Spanish Player of the Year 2008 and Euro 2008 winner (… it seems 2008 was a good year for Senna) would be a big star signing for the Swans; one which would really cement the fact that Swansea have made it to the big league.
However, at 35 (when new season starts), his age is a big factor. Ultimately Brendan Rodgers will be signing Senna with experience in mind. The La Liga veteran has played with Corinthians and, of course, Villareal and had 28 caps for Spain. He may be a little too old to feature as a first team player week-in, week-out, but his big game ability is what he will be used for, on and off the field.
Another midfield idea going around is Eidur Gudjohnsen. The attacking-midfielder is a free agent, though has played with Barcelona, Chelsea and Tottenham in the past and would be another massive experience signing. At 32 he, like Senna, would be useful for his big game experience. I'm not sure if having both Senna and Gudjohnsen would be ideal as the wages would be massive and they probably wouldn't both be needed. Still, I'd rather both than none.
Ryan Harley has been with Swansea since January, though remained with his old club, Exeter, on loan until now. I haven't seen much of Harley, though I understand he is a great attacking player with a keen eye for goal. Stepping up from League One to the Premier League will be a massive change in pace and quality though, so we will have to wait to see how effective he really is on the big stage.
Midfield seems close to sorted now, with the likes of Harley, Britton, Dobbie, Allen and, quite possibly, Senna and Gudjohnsen all likely to play first team football next season.
The wings need strengthening. With one injury to Sinclair or Dyer, Swansea's wide game is effectively buggered. With Van der Gun gone, the Swans are relatively short on wingers, which is worrying as their game relies heavily on the wings. Tom Butler is one option, with Luke Moore another. I'd personally dislike seeing either of these warming up next season, so a winger should be the next big thing on Rodger's list.
The biggest area Swansea need to look at is defence. Monk and Tate did wonders last season, though fresh legs and a little speed at the back is now essential against some of the best forwards in the world. With Ashley Williams staying put for now, obtaining another centre back and possibly a left back is more essential than finding a winger and striker. If Taylor stays the left-back is less crucial, but depth is needed with only a handful of quality defenders to actually choose from.
De Vries is already Premier League quality and will easily retain his starting spot next season, after a spectacular 2010/11 season, but MaKalambay is not up to the high standard required in the top tier. A new replacement keeper is needed (not Cornell), with MaKalambay staying as a third keeper possibly.
There is plenty more to talk about as the transfer window remains open. Watch this space!