Sunday 28 July 2013

Jonjo: The man with the point to prove

The signing of Jonjo Shelvey was certainly unexpected and turned a few curious heads. However he has impressed at times during pre-season and there may be more to Shelvey than we first thought. In this blog post, MATTHEW JACOB explores the history of the deal and his chances of success at Swansea City.


By Matthew Jacob

When Jonjo Shelvey put pen to paper on July 3rd to seal a switch to Swansea from Liverpool, I - like many other Jacks - was completely underwhelmed.

Michael Laudrup's summer spending had brought much intrigue up to this point, yet this transfer didn't exactly fill me with the excitement that followed the acquisitions of Jose Canas, Jordi Amat and Alejandro Pozeulo.

What surprised me first of all was how quickly it all came about. I had not heard Shelvey's name in among all the others being linked with the club at the time, and not seen him linked with Swansea City since Brendan Rodgers offered the England U21 international as part of the deal for Joe Allen in August 2012. Nevertheless the Liverpool man signed for £6million and joined the team in Holland for pre-season.

The midfield was not an area I felt needed further reinforcements and, given that Shelvey hadn't exactly shone since his move from Charlton to Liverpool, I must admit I needed some convincing that he was right for Swansea City.

But there are qualities in his game that I admire. He's a combative player, not afraid to make a tackle, and certainly posses a range of passing skills that will suit our style. Yet my outstanding memory of Shelvey is his sending off against Manchester United for a two-footed challenge on Jonny Evans, and shouting at Ferguson as he went off!

Whether or not you put that down to 'youthful exuberance' or sheer arrogance, it's a part of his game he needs to work on.

I feel that's the key with Shelvey - he has many good qualities, but had perhaps lost his way at Liverpool with the likes of Gerrard and Lucas in front of him for selection.

Perhaps that's the reason there are those that have written him off in the past. He now has an opportunity to play first team football and hone his skills under the tutelage of a footballing legend.

The midfielder has already said he's hoping first team football will land him a seat on the plane to Brazil next summer with the England team and good performances for us will certainly boost his chances. Now is Jonjo Shelvey's chance to prove how good a footballer he is, and show his real qualities every week.

His route to the first team will not be a straightforward path - I'd argue it's now the strongest part of the squad. Shelvey will be competing with Canas, Pozeulo, Ki, De Guzman, Michu and Britton for a central berth in the starting eleven.

He has impressed during pre-season in a deeper lying role alongside Britton or Canas and getting forward to support Michu and now Bony in attack, culminating in a goal at the Madejski in the Swans final friendly before taking on Malmo in the Europa league.

Shelvey has real experience in Europe after games for Liverpool and can bring that knowledge to the squad as they prepare for their first journey into the competition.

What's exciting from a personal point of view is how Laudrup intends to use him in the system. He could be used in a holding role to support the likes of De Guzman and Pozuelo in attack or he could be pushed up alongside Michu to support Bony with Britton or Canas left to sit in front of the back four.

From what I've seen and heard it looks as though Jonjo is ready to prove the doubters wrong (me included!).

I'm really looking forward to seeing him in Europa League action on Thursday - super strikes, tough tackles, time to shine Jonjo!


Jonjo Shelvey's Career to date

He was born in Romford and began his career at Arsenal and West Ham as a youth player. He soon became Charlton Athletic's youngest ever outfield player in 2008 when he made his debut at 16 years and 59 days old.

A string of quality performances prompted Liverpool to stump up £1.7 million for his services in 2010, where he made a small number of Premier League appearances.

Shelvey moved on loan to Blackpool in September 2011 where he finally began to recapture some of his early form at Charlton, scoring six goals in ten appearances for the Seasiders before being recalled to Anfield due to an injury crisis.

Brendan Rodgers favoured the Romford born midfielder, and he made a number of appearances in the Europa league for the Reds before moving to Swansea this summer.

Monday 22 July 2013

The new look Forza Swansea!

A new season is on the way and with it comes a new look for your favourite Swans blog (assuming it is Forza Swansea...)

Despite the lovely weather, we are all eager for autumn to kick in so Swansea City can kick off their third season in the Premier League.

That's right, the third season.

Time certainly has passed quickly since that day at Wembley. It got me thinking about how long I've been running ForzaSwansea - around three years, since September 2010.

While a lot has changed in that time (Swansea now have Michu and Bony instead of Pintado and Kuqi) the blog remained the same, so now seemed the perfect time for a little face lift. The navigation is pretty much the same, so if you are easily confused there shouldn't be much to get used to!

Let me know how you like the new design - either leave a comment below or via the contact form.

Summer silence

It's been a little quiet on the blog this summer. Despite loads of goings-on, from transfers to friendlies, myself and the bloggers have spent too much time relaxing and not enough time writing.

Rest assured, as the new season starts we'll have plenty to say and you'll have plenty to read! Which brings me onto...

New blogger wanted

If you have something to say about Swansea City, have some good ideas and - most importantly - can write, feel free to pitch me an article. If it's good I will upload it for the world to read and if you can produce a few of these blogs I will make you a regular contributor.

There's no payment (trust me, I've been doing this for three years and have made bugger all) but we don't do it for money. We do it for the love of Swansea City and the love of writing.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Bloggers Q&A: Swans' summer transfers

It's summer, it's sunny (for a change) and Swansea City have finally made some great (along with some "interesting") transfers.

So I decided to set myself and the bloggers three brief questions on Swansea City's recent signings and what is left to achieve in the transfer window. Have a read, share your thoughts, then get back outside to enjoy the weather!

Of all the new players, which one are you looking forward to seeing in action the most?

Alec Johnson: Shelvey - he brings something totally different and a degree of steel that is sometimes lacking in our middle third. Also it will be nice to see somebody having a shot from forty yards for a change - we have lacked this since Bodde.

Jules Price: Canas - I think he will be another great character on and off the pitch in Swansea. The YouTube videos Swansea City have uploaded this week are testament to that.

Jacob Cristobal: Jordi Amat - mostly the surprise that Swansea got him! A 21-year-old defender who could be on the rise for the national team if he has a good debut season. Also I can see a partnership forming with Ben Davies that could flourish!

Matt Jacob: Aside from Bony I think it has to be Shelvey - the man with a point to prove! Think he'll be an exciting edition for us and will prove the doubters wrong.

Chris Carra: I'm curious to see them all, but mostly Shelvey. It's a signing that confused me at first but - like Alec said - he will bring something different to the centre. Laudrup clearly has plans for him, so it'll be interesting to see how they unfold.

We've had a few good signings now, but what else is still needed?

AJ: A small, sharp forward - somebody that nobody has heard of, from a club that we've never watched.

JP: We need to trim the squad. Players like Lita need to go. Also is it time for Tate and Monk to depart?

JC: Another winger for depth purposes, but I don't have a particular name in mind.

MJ: I'd be looking at another centre forward, other than that I'd say we're covered all over the pitch. Vydra would be nice but Donnolly seems to be doing the business in pre-season so I hope we see more of him this year.

CC: Despite the signing of Bony, I'd say at least one more striker is needed, especially if Moore is leaving. Midfield is looking very healthy and there is enough cover for the wings at the moment. Maybe another centre-back, to relieve some of the pressure from Williams and Chico.

Money and realism aside, who would be your ideal summer signing?

AJ: Well, in April I wanted Bony and suggested him as a fantasy signing, so I better be careful what I wish for. Cesc Fabregas here we go!

JP: Fantasy signing would be Paul Gascoigne. I saw him play his first game for Spurs against the Swans in the Mike Hughes testimonial. He scored a 25 yard free kick. Pure talent. Of present players, David Luiz, for the same reason as Chico and Canas - strong characters that love the game, fans and team mates. Good players too.

JC: Thomas Muller (hey there's that winger!)

MJ: Falcao, had he not gone to Monaco. He's a goalscoring machine.

CC: It will have to be someone Italian... so let's say Emanuele Giaccherini. I didn't particularly rate him before this summer, but the Juve winger had a brilliant Confederations Cup with the Azzurri and would look good in a Swans shirt! Plus he's only £8m - bargain!


This ends the first Q&A! Keep in touch with all of us on Twitter (our handles are on the contributors page). Feel free to leave a comment or question below!