After the Wembley hangovers settled, we said our amicable goodbyes to the likes of Cedric van der Gun and Albert Serran, as well as our “I-honestly-forgot-you-were-playing-for-the-Swans” farewells to Kerry Morgan and Jamie Grimes early in June. Shortly after went Darren Pratley, which was no surprise after the on/off season he'd had, followed by the shocking move of Dorus De Vries to Wolves (read my full thoughts on his departure here).
With Fabio Borini having already left for Italy, Swans fans were delighted to learn that a capable, goal-hungry striker was on his way to South Wales: Danny Graham. Luke Moore and Craig Beattie might have adequately fulfilled their roles last season and have impressed in the pre-season friendlies (though playing against the likes of Port Talbot and Afan Lido, can you expect anything less?!), but the club needed to aim higher than the combined seven goals those two brought last season. The arrival of Graham took the “striker needed” advert out of the Liberty Stadium window for a while, though another one or two would be ideal before mid-August.
With one purchase secured, the club were able to look at strengthening other vital areas, with no position more needy of a fresh face than the goalkeeper. A number of names were thrown around but, so far, only Jose Moreira has fallen into the “for keeps” bag. Moreira helped Benfica win the Portuguese League Cup last season and will no doubt prove an asset for the Swans who are struggling in that area – Ma Kalambay is not up to Premier League standard, the same going for David Cornell. It seems another keeper is in Brendan Rodgers' cross-hairs, with a loan bid going in for David Stockdale and an unconfirmed bid for Nottingham Forest's number one, Lee Camp. Another keeper would be desirable.
Looking at the defence, Neil Taylor signing a new four-year deal is good news, though the celebration was blemished after his alleged threats to sue the club after they made his Newcastle move difficult, which has certainly lost him some support (his agent seems to be the main cause of this fiasco, though Taylor must carry some of the blame). He'll have to ensure a great season in the Premier League to convert those disgruntled fans back to full support.
Alan Tate and Garry Monk are staying put, though may see themselves playing secondary roles as Ashley Williams and, new loan signing, Steven Caulker look likely to start in the centre next season, though I'm sure both Tate and Monk will get plenty of game time as the season goes on. Garry Monk signed a new three-year deal, which will no doubt see him end his career with the Swans.
Midfield wasn't a burning issue at the start of the summer with Gower, Dobbie, Allen, Britton, Orlandi and a newly fit(ish) Bodde available, though Senna and Gudjohnsen both stole headlines after Swansea were linked with them. Now they aren't coming, I can get off the fence and say it probably wouldn't have been the best move for the Swans. Yes it was refreshing to see Swansea linked with such high quality players who ooze experience, but high wages and an already large midfield roster would mean someone would suffer.
Let's not forget Ryan Harley, who signed back in January this year. He'll be one to watch, though not holding my breath for immediate wonders – bypassing the Championship and starting in the Premier League with a new team after playing in League One last season may prove a little too much straight off for Harley.
Out wide Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair will be relied on for their pace and skill, though another winger is desperately needed to provide cover for injuries. In an idea world, Swansea would get a winger who is capable of pushing Dyer and Sinclair onto the bench, but this isn't an ideal world so a cover winger would suffice. Marvin Emnes has been consistently mentioned and, at the right price, would be great forward/wing cover, though Middlesbrough won't want to see him go. I know Luke Moore can play out wide, but it's not a mouthwatering prospect is it?
Were Swansea to play their first Premier League game of the season tomorrow, things may look like this:
Rangel Caulker Williams Taylor
Sinclair Britton Dobbie Allen Dyer,
Just joking with the Pintado bit; but substitute Pintado for Graham and it's not a bad looking team, with a nice mix of youth, speed and experience. No doubt Swansea will be linked with a few more possibilities between now and then (when I started writing this blog they were dead certs to sign Mariano Pavone, though as I go to publish it the move is definitely not happening – I can't keep up!)
Staying in the Premier League will be no easy task, but with a little more strengthening it's not impossible. Another three weeks and we'll be very close to the first game against Man City, where the hard work really starts.