For some teams, the January transfer window can be a madcap, chaotic period in which those in charge of recruitment seem to temporarily take leave of their senses.
But sensible recruitment has been the name of the game at Swansea, and while there are plenty of high-quality targets available, Steve Cooper has identified an area of weakness and acted accordingly.
With just 34 goals in 28 Championship games at the time of writing, no team in the top half of the table has scored fewer than the Swans, and even when you take the second tier as a whole only Middlesbrough, Derby, Wigan and Huddersfield have netted less.
Happily, the news is better from a defensive perspective, with a low ‘goals against’ tally and four clean sheets in their last five outings – including the 1-0 win at Luton Town.
However, such miserly attacking play is not particularly becoming of a team with aspirations of a top six finish, despite a fairly positive festive campaign including a draw with local rivals Cardiff, and so in, on loan, have come Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher, who both fit the current template of Swansea signings in being young and exciting.
Both have an innate ability to put the ball in the net too, which will certainly help. Strangely, Swansea’s chances of finishing inside the play-off places have not altered, in the sense that their English Championship 2019/20 top six finish betting odds have not shortened with the bookmakers, but certainly you sense that this dynamic duo will add plenty to our hopes of getting into the mix.
Here’s a quick look at the new faces and what they can bring to Swansea City.
Brewster Looking to Showcase Big Time Credentials
As a young striker on the fringes of the Liverpool first-team, it’s always going to be difficult for Brewster to get the necessary game time he needs to develop his skills.
Roberto Firmino continues to dominate the centre-forward role, and Jurgen Klopp is not averse to playing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane there when required too. In short, Brewster is – for now at least – surplus to requirements.
But the Reds’ loss is undoubtedly our gain. The 19-year-old has been a prolific goalscorer at youth level for Liverpool, and he won the Golden Boot at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup to earmark his credentials.
He’s so highly rated by Klopp that he named Brewster on the substitute’s bench for the Champions League semi-finals against Barcelona and the final versus Tottenham, meaning that the young man has a winner’s medal from the most illustrious competition in European football.
Brewster is quick, direct and aggressive, and he is a natural center-forward, which means that the likes of Andre Ayew and Bersant Celina can operate from wider areas, where they are at their best.
After his scintillating start to the season, Borja Baston has lost his scoring boots. Maybe the added competition of Brewster will add a new intensity to his game too, so the capture of the Liverpool man could bring plenty of benefits to Steve Cooper and his coaching staff.
A Chelsea Youngster With Lofty Ambitions
The name Conor Gallagher may already be familiar to followers of the Championship. The Chelsea youngster spent the first half of the season on loan at Charlton, where he really caught the eye with six goals in 26 appearances.
That form has elevated Gallagher into the England Under-21s set up, and when his short-term contract at The Valley ended it wasn’t long before Cooper acted. After all, the manager had first-hand experience of coaching the player as part of the triumphant Under-17 World Cup squad along with Brewster.
Despite being so young at 19, Gallagher is something of a throwback to the old-fashioned ‘box to box’ midfielders, with a great engine allowing him to cover every blade of grass. His goal record in London is proof that, like Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, he has a knack of arriving into the penalty area at exactly the right time.
He’d only been at the club a matter of hours, but that didn’t stop him making some rather lofty claims in his first interview, as reported by the BBC.
“I want to help Swansea get in the play-offs because I definitely think we are capable of doing that,” Gallagher said. He continued by saying that if the Jacks find some form, he wouldn’t be ‘ruling anything out’ as far as automatic promotion is concerned.
Gallagher slotted seamlessly into the Swans midfield on his debut against Wigan on Saturday, providing the assist for Brewster’s goal and showed enough during the game to suggest he will be a big asset to Cooper’s team during his loan.
With an excellent defensive record, Swansea have firm foundations on which to mount their Premier League promotion bid. If they can find some goals of their own – an ambition that Brewster and Gallagher can surely help with – then who knows what 2020 will bring.