Ahead of the start of the new 2017/18 Premier League season, we thought we’d try and predict how things will go this term for Swansea City.
What will Swansea’s final Premier League position be?
Declan: I’m really not sure what to expect from the Swans this season, and transfer business currently being on hold due to the Sigurdsson saga is complicating things a bit. If we make a few more signings in key areas, I think with a good manager in Paul Clement, we can avoid a relegation battle. My estimate is 13th.
Josh: Given our current predicament in the transfer market, it’s still quite hard to say. When (or if?) Sigurdsson leaves, I’m confident that the money will be reinvested well before the window closes. If he doesn’t, then we can only hope that he can slot back in and perform as well as he did last year. I think we’ll finish 15th.
Declan: I think Roque Mesa will be huge for us this campaign. He looks a real good midfielder and if he can emulate his performances from Las Palmas in La Liga, we’ve got a serious player on our hands. An honourable mention to Tom Carroll too, who’s in for a big season.
Josh: It’ll probably be a bit of a strange choice, but I’m going to go with Lukasz Fabianski. He’s been so consistent since joining from Arsenal, and I don’t see that changing. I’d love to know the number of points he’s won us, because I really do see him as a bit of an unsung hero.
Declan: It’s got to be the main man, Fernando Llorente. Fingers crossed he’ll be staying at the Liberty and following on from his 15 goals in 2016/17, hopefully he can continue hitting the back of the net.
Josh: As much as I’m tempted to go with Llorente, Tammy Abraham’s pre-season performances have really impressed me. If he can get the game time either alongside, or ahead of the big Spaniard, I think he’s in for a big season.
Youngster to watch out for?
Declan: As youngsters come, it’s hard to look past Oli McBurnie. The young striker looks a huge prospect and hopefully he can improve even more under Clement, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent some time out on loan. Looking more into the Under-23s, keep an eye on Josh Sheehan who really impressed at Newport last campaign.
Josh: Oli McBurnie seems to be getting closer to the first team with Llorente out injured, but I think we’ll probably see him sent out on loan later in the year. The likes of Connor Roberts and Dan James have been sent out on loan, so we’re probably quite limited in terms of prospects to look out for. We signed 17 year-old Kees de Boer from Ajax earlier in the Summer, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does for the u23s.
Player to step up / most improved?
Declan: A lot of players improved once Clement came in in January and I’m eager to see who continues to shine this season. I’m backing Luciano Narsingh to improve a lot after a mixed first eight months in Swansea – I know there’s a good winger in there.
Josh: If we’re not going to be spending on another right-back, then I’d hope that Kyle Naughton will be able to step up. Kyle Bartley is another one I’m expecting to see improve. He had a great season at Leeds last year, and he must have impressed in pre-season to be given a new four-year contract.
Player most probable to leave at some point?
Declan: Looking on the fringes, I’d anticipate maybe Matt Grimes leaving the Liberty at some point. I don’t see him playing much football this season for the Swans and could step down to the Championship for playing time if someone came in for him.
Josh: Apart from McBurnie probably leaving on loan, I’d probably say Matt Grimes. He didn’t really impress for us when he did play, and wasn’t great for Leeds when he played last season either. If we plan on signing another midfielder, there may be a move for Jay Fulton, too.
Strongest XI as of now?
Declan: It’s got to be a 4-4-2 diamond, with Fer in attacking midfield instead of Sigurdsson.
Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Mesa, Carroll, Britton, Fer; Ayew, Llorente.
Josh: I’d suggest a 4-4-2, with Leon at the base of the diamond and Fer behind the two strikers. I’d love those two strikers to be Abraham and Llorente, but it’ll probably be Ayew given that the former two are quite similar.
Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Britton, Mesa, Carroll, Fer; Ayew, Llorente.