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Swansea City

Three players Swansea City should sign on deadline day

Rob Meech

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Swansea

Swansea City have been resurgent under Paul Clement, who steered them to Premier League survival last season. The departure of chief playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton was undeniably a blow, but the Swans manager has responded with some astute signings, including Roque Mesa and Sam Clucas. Further incomings are expected, with The Guardian reporting that Renato Sanches is close to finalising a season-long loan deal at the Liberty Stadium from Bayern Munich.

Here are three more signings that Swansea should look to make on deadline day:

Fabian Delph

Delph joined Manchester City two years ago but has never been a regular in the starting XI. The 27-year-old has been beset with injury problems and has slipped down the midfield pecking order at the Etihad as a result of City’s enormous spending spree. However, so good had Delph’s form been at Aston Villa that he was a mainstay in Roy Hodgson’s England team during qualification for the 2016 European Championships.

With Pep Guardiola keen to trim his squad, Delph may be available for an affordable price. Despite having landed Sam Clucas, Swansea look to be short of midfield options since Sigurdsson’s exit. Delph could provide them a cutting edge. When fit, he is a high-octane performer who covers a lot of ground. Not only capable of carrying out the dirty work, Delph is comfortable on the ball and capable of creating chances.

Benik Afobe

With Sky Sports claiming Fernando Llorente is in talks over a potential switch to Chelsea, Swansea are in need of a striker with Premier League pedigree. Bournemouth forward Afobe, who joined the Cherries from Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2016, could be the ideal signing.

The DR Congo international has enjoyed a fairly successful spell on the south coast, scoring 10 goals in 45 Premier League appearances – many of those coming off the bench. Afobe struck up an excellent partnership with Joshua King last season, but the summer arrival of Jermain Defoe could see him relegated back to the bench. Afobe is a hard worker and is at his best when he plays on instinct. A fox in the box, the 24-year-old is guaranteed to score goals and would provide Clement with an alternative to Tammy Abraham.

Phil Jagielka

The Everton centre-back has been there, done it and worn the T-shirt. However, since Ashley Williams and, more recently, Michael Keane joined the Merseyside club, his playing time has become reduced. The 35-year-old may only have one or two seasons left in him in the Premier League, but he is more than capable of doing a solid job.

Swansea could do with an experienced head in defence to steer them through pressurised situations and the centre-back, who has earned 40 caps for England, could be that man. He would also act as a great mentor for young talent Alfie Mawson. Jagielka might be tempted by the idea of a new challenge in the autumn of his career and the prospect of regular football.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

FA Cup

Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Swansea City – Tammy Abraham didn’t take first-team opportunity

Jake Jackman

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Swansea

Swansea City were held in the FA Cup away to Championship club Sheffield Wednesday. The Swans have been drawn to face lower league opposition in every round of the competition so far and this occasion saw Carlos Carvalhal return to his former club. It was a huge day for him and he will be slightly disappointed by the performance that he witnessed.

Although the Premier League side selected a talented team, it was an even contest and both teams had chances to score. Neither team deserved to go through on this viewing and they will have to meet again at the Liberty Stadium in just over a week’s time.

It will be interesting to see who will await the winners of this tie in the next round and that could dictate whether Swansea take the replay seriously or not. Here are three talking points from Hillsborough:

Tammy Abraham didn’t take his opportunity

It was a frustrating day for Tammy Abraham as he had few chances to impress in the final third and he was taken off midway in the second half. That will be a disappointment for the forward as this was an opportunity to earn more game-time in the Premier League and his contribution on Saturday is unlikely to bring that.

During the match, he failed to have a single attempt on goal, while his pass success was at a poor 58%. The service he received was non-existent as shown in the second half when Luciano Narsingh refused to play the striker in.

Abraham did nice work to release the winger and spin in behind his marker, but the return ball didn’t arrive. The striker was visibly annoyed that the ball wasn’t given back.

Jordan Ayew was the man that replaced Abraham and he offered more when he was on the pitch. He was willing to drop deep to be given possession, while he got two attempts in on goal during his short time on the pitch.

His distribution was more effective, as displayed by his two key passes. The former Aston Villa man is the player that should lead the line for the relegation-threatened club.

Adam Reach stood out in midfield

This has been a season to forget for Sheffield Wednesday as they are a considerable distance off promotion, despite being one of the best Championship teams in recent seasons.

The match against Swansea provided the players with an opportunity to prove they can compete with Premier League opposition and Adam Reach was one of the standout performers.

The 25-year-old showed glimpses of both attacking and defensive quality, which shows he can contribute in both halves of the pitch. He will be the first to admit his final ball could have been better, but he regularly got in positions to cause problems for the away side. During the match, he attempted three shots and completed 86% of his passes.

Meanwhile, he worked hard out of possession and didn’t allow Swansea to dominate the midfield battle. Reach won four tackles and made a further two interceptions. He was relentless in work rate and his energy rubbed off on the rest of the team. The midfielder will be a player to keep an eye on in the replay.

Alfie Mawson had to miss the match through injury

The Swansea City defender was pencilled in to start in the match, but he was injured in the warm up and had to be replaced in the starting eleven by Kyle Naughton.

This was a major blow for the team as Mawson is a born leader at the back and offers composure to the back-line. He was later pictured wearing a knee brace and holding crutches, in what was a worrying sight.

The last thing Swansea need is a serious injury, especially to one of the team’s most important players. Towards the end of the game, the cameras showed that he was moving his leg more freely, but it is a concern nonetheless.

Naughton came in and did well, with one excellent challenge saving a goal in the first-half. The entire Swansea defence played well, with Kyle Bartley standing out as a Premier League centre-half.

The former Leeds United loanee won five aerial duels and made four ball recoveries. He could be required to step up if Mawson has to miss some of the run-in.

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English Premier League

Swansea City 0-2 Tottenham – Three talking points from the Liberty Stadium

Jake Jackman

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Tottenham

Tottenham made it three successive Premier League wins in a row as they overcame a determined Swansea City team on Tuesday night. They made the decision to rest Harry Kane as the striker had been suffering with a cold and it was his replacement that opened the lead. Fernando Llorente hasn’t been given many chances, but he showed his worth with a goal against his former club. There was a hint of offside about it, but it was a good finish.

The home side were much better in the second half and did cause Tottenham problems. Luciano Narsingh looked good after coming on and Jordan Ayew grew into the game. However, they couldn’t fashion a clear-cut opportunity and they left gaps at the back to let Dele Alli put the result beyond doubt in the dying minutes. Swansea can take heart from the performance, but other results didn’t go their way and they are left deeper in the mire. Here are three talking points from the Liberty Stadium:

Dele Alli is returning to his best

It was a slow start to the season for Dele Alli as he failed to live up to his high standards from the previous two seasons. The 21-year-old is still young and was always likely to go through a rough patch of form at some point. It is impressive that he is now coming out of the other side and looks to have learned a lot from his struggles.

The England international will have his sights firmly on the World Cup and he looked motivated to do well in South Wales. His movement was excellent as he regularly found pockets of space in a packed Swansea half. During the match, he looked determined to find the back of the net, as shown by his five attempts on goal. His persistence was finally rewarded as he got his goal late on to clinch the three points. Alli now has two goals and three assists in his last three Premier League matches.

Renato Sanches is improving

The young wonderkid on Swansea City’s team showed signs of improvement as well. Renato Sanches has been much maligned since making the loan move to South Wales, but the change of manager could be what he needed to release his potential. Against Tottenham, he looked much more confident on the ball and was showing the high level of work rate that is needed in the Premier League. Carlos Carvalhal used him as part of a three-man midfield and he was certainly the pick of the bunch.

Sanches showed his ability on the ball, as he completed three dribbles and made two key passes, to improve the attacking threat of the home side. There were times when he made the wrong decision on the ball, but this was one of his most encouraging performances in the Premier League. However, it will be his work rate that will have pleased his new manager, as he won three tackles during the match. He has a long way to go, but his career is moving back on track and Swansea fans could be set for an exciting second half of the season.

The return of Victor Wanyama

Tottenham received a huge boost that may go unnoticed by many, but Victor Wanyama came off the bench against Swansea. The Kenyan international has been missing since August and he has been a major loss for Spurs, as they don’t have another midfielder that can carry out the job that the 26-year-old can. He is excellent at winning the ball back and adds tenacity to the midfield.

It was a rusty performance from Wanyama, but that is to be expected as he tries to build up his match fitness. He completed both of his attempted tackles and ended the game with a pass success rate of 91%. It is good that he is now returning from injury, as he will be able to readjust to Premier League football and be fully fit for the Champions League tie against Juventus. He will be crucial in that tie and it is positive that he is now returning from injury.

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English Premier League

Is Carlos Carvalhal the right appointment for Swansea City?

Jake Jackman

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Carvalhal

Swansea City appointed Carlos Carvalhal as their new manager earlier this week in a move that surprised many, as it happened just days after he was sacked by Championship club Sheffield Wednesday. Leon Britton had been in temporary charge of the Swans, but he was never likely to secure the job on a full-time basis. The Welsh club are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and their new manager will have a huge task to keep them in the top-flight.

Carvalhal joins on an initial contract to the end of the season with an option of an extension. This raises questions as to Swansea’s motivations of appointing the Portuguese manager. He doesn’t have any Premier League experience, which makes him an odd choice if the club’s aims are to remain in the division. If they were giving the job to him with the aim of staying up, but were prepared to keep him regardless of their fate this season, it would make sense. He would be the perfect man to lead the club after relegation due to his recent success in the Championship.

It could be that Swansea don’t want them to tie themselves up with a manager longer than six months due to their uncertain future. That would make sense, but it sends the wrong message to the dressing room as they are already hedging their bets with their new manager. Carvalhal’s stock has been hurt by his failure this season, as he left Sheffield Wednesday in 15th position after back-to-back play-off campaigns. That could be part of the reason for the contract, but the Portuguese manager has a wealth of experience and is a good appointment.

The new Swansea City manager has had a long and varied journey to the Premier League. He has managed 16 clubs before taking over at the Liberty Stadium and that wealth of experience will stand him in good stead to attempt his biggest challenge yet. Notable former clubs include Braga, Sporting Lisbon, Besiktas and Istanbul BB. Although he hasn’t managed in the Premier League, he has managed at big clubs and for that reason, it isn’t as big of a risk as many think it is.

During the start of his managerial career, he was very much a journeyman and he didn’t stay in jobs very long. He had 15 jobs in 14 years before taking over at Sheffield Wednesday and although he didn’t win many major trophies, there were some notable achievements. Carvalhal took third-tier Leixoes to the UEFA Cup after finishing runner-up in the Taca de Portugal. He later won the Taca da Liga with Vitoria Setubal and it was these accomplishments that saw him move up the coaching ladder.

Interestingly, he took nearly three years out of the game after leaving Istanbul BB and it looked like he could fade away from top-tier management. Then, Sheffield Wednesday came calling and gave him a great opportunity to enhance his reputation in England. Foreign managers aim to manage in the Premier League and in the current game, a stint in the Championship is useful in achieving that. Carvalhal is a great example of that and BBC Sport report quotes that suggest he believes he belongs at the highest level:

“I believe that me and my staff, our place is in the Premier League. It may be my first time in the Premier League, but I was working at Sporting, with Besiktas and I played with Braga in the Europa League.

“I am a coach that if you saw my profile I will change the club, you will see that.”

The Portuguese manager clearly believes that he has done his apprenticeship in this country and deserves a Premier League job. These comments display self-belief and that will go a long way in winning the dressing room over. During his time at Sheffield Wednesday, he developed a good team spirit and a style that suited the big games. Last season, his side did the double over Newcastle United, the team that would go on to win the division.

It was in the matches against the bottom-half teams that Wednesday struggled. In the Premier League, there are no ‘easy’ matches and that could suit Carvalhal. He will rarely be trying to break down a team determined to sit deep and it could be that a step up to manage a relegation-threatened team will suit him.

That said, his Wednesday team often played a physical style and it will be difficult to replicate with his new club. Carvalhal would set up in a 4-4-2 and look to focus the majority of attacks down the flanks. Fernando Forestieri was often the deeper of the front two and the player capable of producing a moment of magic to turn a game on his head. The rest of the team were functional and hard-working, with the flair being produced by the Argentine and the two wingers. In the Championship, it worked well. However, he won’t be able to do the same with Swansea City.

The Swans have a squad that doesn’t suit any one style of football. They have moved away from the possession-based style that saw them become so popular when they first arrived in the Premier League, but they haven’t got the players to thrive in the system Carvalhal used at Sheffield Wednesday. Their midfielders are too lightweight and their wingers don’t create enough for the strikers. Furthermore, they lack a creative spark like Forestieri to link the midfield and attack.

This is going to be an interesting period for Swansea City and Carvalhal. It is a risk to appoint a manager that has just been sacked by a Championship club, but the Portuguese manager has shown enough during his career to suggest he could do well in South Wales. He will need to find a new way of playing and it will be fascinating to see how he sets his team up. Many expect the Swans to be relegated and that means that the new manager has nothing to lose. This is a great opportunity for him and it is now up to him to prove he can cut it at the highest level.

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