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.