The Swans have certainly had a season of contrast thus far. The club looked dead and buried back in December after a poor start had them sitting bottom of the table with the least number of goals scored out of all 20 sides in the Premier League.
It was time for the board to try to get the club back to what made it so successful in the first place. Playing attractive, attacking football that was easy on the eye and very effective at creating chances. In order to do this, the club turned to Portuguese manager Carlos Carvalhal, who had been in charge of Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.
His impact was instant and he won five of his first ten games in charge. Before his arrival, Swansea had won just three games in the opening 20 games of the Premier League campaign.
Paul Clement had done well to keep Swansea up last season after replacing American Bob Bradley, but he hadn’t been able to carry the momentum into the new season.
The football had become stale and many fans rightly criticised the negative tactics and lack of goals. In fairness to Clement, he wasn’t helped by the loss of two of his best players over the summer.
Gylfi Sigurdsson joined Everton for a club-record fee of £45 million and Fernando Llorente headed for the capital with Tottenham for £13 million. They also sold England international Jack Cork to Burnley.
The club were favourites for the drop but following the Carvalhal inspired revival their odds have improved greatly, with them now sitting relatively comfortably at 6/1 in the Premier League betting to be relegated. If the club can remain in the top flight then they face a massive summer that could define the team for the next few seasons.
Business in January was positive, with the return of fan favourite Andre Ayew for a club record fee of £20 million from West Ham and the addition of Leicester City’s Andy King on loan but there is still a lack of depth that leaves the side open to problems if they get a couple of injuries, such as the one sustained by midfielder Sam Clucas in the weekend defeat at Manchester United.
There should be money available with the club choosing not to add to the Ayew signing in January. That was probably sensible given the inflated prices of the winter transfer window but it does put a renewed focus on getting the right personnel in during the summer – something which the Swans have failed to do in recent years.
Carvalhal deserves a chance after what he has done thus far and keeping Alfie Mawson should be the first item on his agenda. The defender has been a huge success since his arrival from Barnsley and currently makes up the backbone of the team, along with the likes of Łukasz Fabiański and leading goalscorer Jordan Ayew.
Getting in another creative player should also be high on the list of priorities, with Sigurdsson’s boots having proved almost impossible to fill this season. The club wouldn’t go far wrong with trying to sign former Swan Joe Allen, who is currently with Stoke City, and is a player who would certainly help fill such a void.
Carvalhal will also be hoping to add to his forward line, with Tammy Abraham set to return to parent club Chelsea when his loan finishes, the only other options – aside from the Ayew brothers – being an ageing injury prone Wilfried Bony and rookie Oli McBurnie.
Whatever happens, though, it will be a crucial time for the club and one they cannot afford to get wrong. With Carvalhal seemingly the right man to get the team back playing the “Swansea way”, there is plenty to be positive about – now all they have to do is build on it.