Swansea City have been the most improved side in the English divisions over the last decade and now they just don’t look like stopping. When Brendan Rodgers brought the Welsh side up via the Championship Play-Offs, most people doubted their Premier League status, but they shocked everyone with their Spanish-esque possession football – something they have continued with – and managed to finish in 11th position. The following year, with Michael Laudrup now managing the club, they finished 9th along with a satisfying Capital One Cup triumph. Along the way they picked up Michu – signed for only £2million in 2012 – and he was their go-to man for their goals, but during his second season at the Liberty Stadium he suffered several injuries, hampering his progression. He now looks set to leave the club permanently, potentially heading back to Spain.
The Swans, who are now managed by ex-player Garry Monk, still have the likes of Nathan Dyer, Ashley Williams, Leon Britton, Neil Taylor, Àngel Rangel and Wayne Routledge all still at the club from when they won promotion to the Premiership in 2011.
Position – 8th
Swansea’s season last time around has been overlooked by Southampton’s. However, the Welsh club were only four points behind Ronald Koeman’s men and played just as exciting football as the south coast club. Monk has done a terrific job for Swansea and they were ever so close to European football once again. Disappointedly, however, the Jacks had to say goodbye to their star striker Wilfred Bony as he was snapped up by oil-rich Manchester City for an initial fee of £25million in the January transfer window; much to the surprise of many Swansea fans, it didn’t affect their end of the season.
Can they keep on improving?
After their quite phenomenal season, surely Swansea have hit their peak? You can’t see them becoming a top seven side anytime soon; but you can’t see them dropping any lower than eleventh. If they were to keep on improving and to build a formula like Southampton, then they could start to construct a serious push for that illustrious seventh place to gain a spot in the Europa League. Under Monk, there should be no chance of the Swans going backwards. They are now a fully established Premier League side with their players consistently performing to a high standard, but to take that next step forward they probably have to attract better players than what they already have, which will certainly be a hard task.
Ashley Williams –
The Swans captain is a leader and a rock at the back. Last season he totalled up 40 blocks, 31 winning tackles, 101 interceptions and he astonishingly cleared the ball 383 times. No wonder nearly every transfer window he is linked with a move to one of the league’s biggest clubs. But, he has shown his loyalty to Swansea – the club he joined in 2008 – and has stayed put at the Liberty Stadium, being fully rewarded for his efforts. He will be the player looking to hold things together for Swansea.
Prediction for the 2015/16 season:
Going into the new season, the Swansea fans will be hopeful of improving on their last season, but they will face stiff competition from Everton, Crystal Palace and Stoke City, although the Swans have made an exceptional signing in Andre Ayew. The Ghanaian has signed on a free transfer and will go straight into the starting eleven on the left-hand side, potentially being one of the signings of the summer. As well as Ayew, Swansea have also added Portuguese striker Eder and French player Franck Tabanou to their ranks so far this transfer window. It comes as no surprise that Monk has purchased a striker, but Eder will find it hard to fit into the shoes that Bony left. They still have Williams, Łukasz Fabiański, who had an outstanding first season in Wales, Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurðsson and one of the league’s most underrated players, Ki Sung-yueng all still at the club, which can be seen as a good thing as no vital players have left the club. These players should play a massive part in securing another top-half finish which is why I reckon the Swans will once again sit comfortably in 8th place. The 2015/16 season could also see Swansea lift silverware in either in the FA Cup or the Capital One Cup – and I’m sure Monk would very much welcome a cup run.