As Swansea achieved Premier League survival by a fairly comfortable seven points, you could be forgiven for forgetting about how dire the situation was at The Liberty Stadium prior to the appointment of Paul Clement, back in January. It was a largely difficult season in South Wales as the Swans had to fight tooth and nail to maintain their Premier League status, despite seeming certain to face the drop back into the Championship.
Swansea can be a match for any team when they are on song. The Welsh side picked up some impressive wins throughout the campaign, including a memorable victory over Liverpool at Anfield. Clement’s men also won their final three games of the season to secure their top-flight status, but largely underperformed throughout the season. It is clear that, despite some second half of the season heroics from Clement’s squad, major changes are needed at the Liberty Stadium if they are to avoid relegation next time round.
One possible improvement that looks close to fruition, as reported by BBC Sport, is the signing of Tammy Abraham from Chelsea. The 19-year-old forward fired in 26 goals, in all competitions, for Bristol City last season and, as a result, was one of the league’s most feared marksmen. The towering striker performed so well, in fact, that Chelsea have decided that he could have a future with the Premier League champions and are only looking to loan him to another club at this time.
One of the main issues for Swansea throughout the 2016/17 season came down to their lack of goalscorers. Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson were, more often than not, the heroes, as they scored a series of significant goals throughout the campaign. The addition of Abraham would help to spread out the scoring burden and simply provide another attacking option for Clement, who found himself unable to rely on Borja Baston and Jordan Ayew – who only found the net once each during the campaign.
The move itself makes a great deal of sense from both Swansea’s and Abraham’s perspectives. It would be beneficial for Swansea as, since the move will only be on loan, if Abraham under-performs then the Welsh side won’t be burdened with an expensive and lengthy contract. It also gives the club a chance to advertise themselves to the Chelsea man as a possible new home if it does turn out that he has a future with the current top flight champions.
It would also make sense for the England youth international, as he has previously worked with Paul Clement during his time at Chelsea. This could help to provide the best situation for Abraham to flourish as he makes the step up to the Premier League and could prove a big enough draw for Swansea to win the race for the forward’s signature over Brighton and Newcastle, who are also reported to be interested in his services.
However, the arrival of Abraham may not be worth much if the Swans cannot keep hold of their star players. There is no doubt that the Chelsea youngster is a talented player but, at just 19 years old, he is unlikely to carry a team to Premier League survival by himself – especially with no previous top flight experience under his belt. The transfer rumour mill is starting to hit full swing and Sigurdsson, Llorente and Alfie Mowson are likely to be on the shortlists of many clubs.
It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Abraham could fill the gap left by the departure of Llorente, as they are both forwards who can be a real handful for centre backs with their physicality and natural finishing ability.
However, Sigurdsson is one of those players that is simply indispensable. From Paul Clement’s perspective, no bid will be tempting enough to sell the Icelandic star and this is a view shared by the Swansea chairmen, Huw Jenkins, as he told Sky Sports. However, with the recent mega-bids that are flying around the Premier League recently – some offers are too good to refuse.
The arrival of Abraham on loan from Chelsea could prove to be great bit of business for Clement and could definitely help to consolidate Swansea’s position in the top flight. However, one of two things needs to happen in order to ensure that he has the best chance to be a success:
Swansea either need to keep hold of all of their star players, particularly Gylfi Sigurdsson, as he has become the focal point of the team since arriving permanently in 2014, or, if the Welsh side do lose their star men over the summer, they must reinvest their money very wisely. If they fail to do this, it could prove to be a difficult year away from Stamford Bridge for the promising striker.