A pattern has emerged over the last three seasons at Swansea City, a trend that is becoming the norm now – so much so that you could simply call it the ‘Swansea City Season Cycle’.
It simply goes like this, and as the timeline graph demonstrates below, it’s almost identical (timings wise) each year.
- Manager is sacked at around game 18 (around midway through the season, December)
- Swansea search for new manager (we’ve got it down to 2 games now after 7 when finding Francesco Guidolin)
- New manager has successful spell
- Safety is confirmed with a game or two to spare
- Give manager new contract in the Summer
- Let him down with transfers in the Summer
That is becoming the norm now and it simply has to stop. It started with Garry Monk and we’ve never recovered since. The ‘Swansea Way’ has been and gone. Managers like Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup are now only a distant memory, managers who could implement a plan, play their way – an attacking passing style that very much aligned with our former philosophy born from Roberto Martinez’s era.
The Swans, once a beautiful tapestry admired by many, was suddenly torn apart. And rather than invest time, effort and money in a much-needed restoration job, we’re simply trying to fix a few missing stitches here and there whilst ignoring many others, despite there being a great, big gaping hole in the middle.
The ‘restoration’ becomes more and more complex & expensive the longer it’s left in its current state
— Jack Swan (@jackswan1411) April 14, 2018
As ‘Jack Swan’ states above on Twitter, the restoration job becomes more and more difficult as time goes on. As Sunderland and Aston Villa both experienced in recent years, there’s only so long you can last whilst battling against Premier League relegation every season.
Getting the right manager in place for next season is obviously crucial. The last two managers that we handed contracts out to in the Summer were sacked 7 and 18 games later respectively. But just as important as that is player recruitment. Our squad is as threadbare as it’s been in a long while. The quality is oozing out every year, and our remaining assets are Alfie Mawson and Lucasz Fabianski. A trend line would surely show that there’ll barely be anything left in the near future.
We’ve always been a club that’s needed to sell first before buying. That bit us badly last Summer, as we waited almost all Summer to sell Gylfi Sigurdsson before we could make some signings. And what were those signings? They felt rushed, to say the least, but we ended up with 8 midfielders and 1 left back after we sold Stephen Kingsley without a back-up option. This just isn’t good planning, at all. The signings we made, by the way, were Sam Clucas for £16m, Roque Mesa £8m and Wilfried Bony £12m.
£20m there that haven’t made an impact. Let’s not forget Borja Baston, a £16m signings who’s currently out on loan for the same reasons.
The Americans have spoken about learning those lessons ahead of the up-coming Summer window, but there are big doubts about how much money we’ll have to spend.
With Carvalhal now in place, I don’t think the new manager for next season is quite as critical as getting the squad right. A squad with enough quality should be in good hands under the Portuguese, but we’ll see the cycle in full flow again if the club doesn’t step up their recruitment game in a few month’s time, regardless of who the manager is.
If you look at the Premier League table since Carlos Carvalhal took over, Swansea would be SIXTH!
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 13, 2018
Another concern is how much of a say the manager, or should I say – head coach – has in transfers. The likes of Francesco Guidolin and current boss Carlos Carvalhal have both mentioned that they’re comfortable and are used to the model whereby they are given the players to work with, but surely they must have and need a serious input into what players are brought in.
Carlos did talk about transfers ahead of the January transfer window, but it was mainly about the qualities and positions that needed strengthening, rather than actual individual players. Once those discussions have been made about the qualities required, it’s then down to the recruitment team to assess and approach the right players.
It’s becoming a very common model now, but one that we’re just not getting right.
However, Carvalhal did say this earlier in the year:
“It will not be easy but we are trying to do the maximum and I have confidence they [Jenkins and the club’s owners] will do the maximum to get the players I request.”
I talked with the chairman (Huw Jenkins) and we will have another conversation after Saturday once other players are involved.
The first conversation was OK, we need cover in positions, the chairman knows this and we must check players.
I don’t deal with money, if I see a player I like I will say to the chairman and I will analyse if he’s good or not.
To read more about our transfer situation, and just how important it’ll be to get the recruitment right this Summer – click the link -> A huge Summer Coming Up For Swansea City