In modern football, wingers are becoming more and more influential to teams. Especially in such a high-paced league like the Premier League, you need quality wingers to have any sort of attacking success.
Look at the best players in the world Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – often everything is run through them, they’re the ones who can have that spark to create danger, they’re the ones who the whole team look to in order to provide a source of goals. You can also look at current Premier League champions Chelsea and you’ll see how they utilised the flanks brilliantly last term, using a 3-4-3 system with Moses and Pedro on the right, Alonso and Hazard on the left.
Okay, maybe we’ll just peg it down a bit to get back onto the level of Swansea City, but the sentiment remains… you need good wingers if you’re to be productive in attack.
I do not feel that the Swans have a good enough wing department. Not at all. Much has been said in this transfer window about players coming in, where we need to strengthen and how we can avoid another season like the last one. I also feel we need to improve in defence as well, however now I’m going to look at the current wingers and how we need to be looking to get one or two quality wide-men in during this summer transfer window.
Let’s look at each of our senior wingers, one-by-one to see if they’re good enough.
Jefferson Montero is perhaps the most frustrating player I’ve witnessed in a Swansea shirt. He’s showed he can be a decent player, but the catch being he only shows it once or twice a season and for the rest of the time he’s in the treatment room, nursing injuries so often you’d think he goes out on the frontline of a battlefield rather than onto a pitch to play football every Saturday afternoon.
The Ecuadorian has had his moments – Arsenal (H) and Chelsea (A) spring to mind – although other than those games, he’s been as much use as a chocolate teapot. Last season was the last straw for me personally, looking back to Spurs and West Brom away last December where his attitude was disgusting and didn’t put one ounce of effort in. I’m afraid my patience has ran out with Montero, and I really wouldn’t mind to see him move on. We simply cant rely on him.
At the start, when he was just breaking through, I was really excited about Barrow. He was raw, he was flying and exciting, you didn’t know what to expect and he got you off your seat. However, after seeing him play over 50 games at the Liberty Stadium now, we’ve realised that his pace and trickery counts for nothing if he’s got no service. Unfortunately, the Gambian is another that’s tested my patience and he hasn’t given me too much of a reason to sing my praises about him.
I look back at Arsenal away last season where he was really effective and did in fact provide an assist (one of only five in his 54 apps) for Borja Baston to bag his only Swans goal. I look back at that game where he bettered Nacho Monreal on the day and think ‘there’s something there surely’, but Paul Clement doesn’t have the time to be patient and hope that a dangerous Barrow turns up out of the blue. He’s been poor a lot more often than he’s been good.
There’s talk of Barrow going to Reading in the Championship, and to be honest, I think that just may be his level.
I like Narsingh. He signed for the Swans in January and had an instant impact, providing an assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s winner against Southampton on his debut. He was a bit frustrating as the club was struggling in March and April, however those were hard circumstances to adapt into Premier League, whilst your club is fighting for its life in the ugly end of the table. Also Clement’s diamond system knocked him back to the bench for the last six games of the campaign.
I do feel he has something to give and can become a good winger for Swansea next season. He’ll do just that if he shows what he did when he came on as a substitute in our last game of the campaign versus West Brom. The Dutch international provided the team with life late on and sent a great ball into Fernando Llorente to snatch a late win. Narsingh is the only winger I’m very content with.
Routledge has been a great servant for the Swans, joining ahead of our first season in the Premier League and helping us on our journey to the club’s seventh successive campaign in the top-flight. However, last term, he did frustrate the fans when the going got tough and despite a good work ethic, he has lost his sharpness and ability to beat a man. The Englishman is one of the more senior players in the Swans dressing-room though and knows all about the club and I do feel he cares for the club, that’s why I’m less adamant about Routledge departing Swansea. I do feel he’s lost his pace however, and I would worry if he was to start every game next season… but he’s not bad for a squad player.
Dyer, again, has been a very good servant to the club and has provided us with some great memories in a Swans shirt. However, like Routledge, he’s ageing and isn’t good enough to start regularly in the Premier League I feel. Plus, he’s really struggled with injuries in recent times and isn’t reliable enough to produce the goods anymore, sadly.
So in conclusion, out of the Swans’ five wingers, I think only one (Narsingh) is worthy enough of starting regularly in the Premier League. I hope Clement and the board identify this problem and bring in, definitely one, if not two Premier League quality wingers.
Clement may use the diamond formation again next season so you could say he won’t even need wingers for that, but don’t tell me that’s going to work all campaign long because it won’t. Teams will eventually suss us out and the manager will have to change things up and in a vast majority of formations/systems, you need wingers.
We need good wingers with an end product, especially if Gylfi Sigurdsson leaves the club, otherwise the striker will be stuck on his own frustrated. Hopefully, the club will see this issue and spend some money in order for us to have an enjoyable 2017/18 season.
I’ve been impressed with the board this transfer window, with their stance on Sigurdsson and Llorente’s price-tags, as well as bringing in a great midfielder such as Roque Mesa. The transfer window isn’t done yet though, and I feel there’s still work to be done in the Swansea City squad.
Just watch all of the wingers have stormers against North Carolina tonight now….