Swansea have been in the market for strikers all summer and have now landed two Spaniards to lead them into the new season. Borja Baston joins Fernando Llorente at the club and he arrives as Swansea’s record signing. The 23-year-old signed from Atletico Madrid for £15.5m and is an exciting capture for the Welsh side. They have sold two key players in Ashley Williams and Andre Ayew over the last few days, which made it crucial that they made some movement in terms of incomings.
He came through the Atletico youth set-up alongside Koke and there were high hopes for him, but he failed to break into the first team. They may yet regret letting him leave as he showed his goal-scoring form for Eibar last season and is likely to develop further in the coming years. He has been farmed out on five loan spells over the last five seasons and the money on offer was too good to turn down for Atletico.
Last season, he was one of the best strikers in La Liga, scoring 18 in 36 for Eibar, which came out at a goal every 143.4 minutes. Only two players outside of the big three sides scored more goals than Baston last season as he helped Eibar stay in the Spanish top flight.
Swansea will be hoping that the Spaniard can do the same for them this season, as they have been mentioned as one of the clubs who could be in danger of relegation. The signings of Llorente and Baston suggest a change in dynamic in South Wales, as they could be used as a strike pairing. The club have been known for their possession-based football since being promoted to the Premier League, but they could be moving away from that style this season.
Baston is a player who should settle well into Premier League football. He isn’t tall, but he can handle himself well in a physical battle. Although it could take some time to adjust to the English game, there are no doubts that Baston has the ability to succeed in the Premier League.
He is a striker with natural goal-scoring instincts and plays best with a partner, which he has at Swansea. His movement in the final third allows him to find space in dangerous areas. His finishing ability shone through in La Liga last season and he is a player who only needs one chance to make it count, which makes him perfect for a side expected to be in a relegation battle.
Despite the fact that he isn’t experienced in England, Baston offers hope to the Swansea supporters as he comes in with a growing reputation. The last Spanish forward to arrive was Michu and he provided the goals Swansea needed to consolidate the Swans in the top flight. They will need Baston to do the same.
There are doubts about Baston in terms of his technical ability. His passing and link-up play needs to be worked on. Last season, his pass accuracy stood at just 69.1%, highlighting how he isn’t comfortable on the ball during the build-up play. This is a clear indication that he isn’t a good fit for Swansea unless they change their style of play. It has been great to watch the club from South Wales establish themselves in the Premier League while playing entertaining football, but a more robust style may be required this season.
Although there will be a culture shift at the club, if they can get the service to Llorente and Baston, it could be a match made in heaven. Baston is excellent at finding space in the final third and with the correct service, he will score goals. His ability to finish can’t be called into question and the two new signings could be the key to survival for Swansea. It won’t be as pretty to watch as it was under Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, but it will be effective.
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